The Mercer Island boys’ golf team’s stroke total has risen each time they have played this season. For most coaches, this problem would be alarming. But Islander golf coach Tyson Peters is not worried.
“We shot a 174 in our first match of the season, which is along the lines of where we should be,” said Peters. “We need more consistency, but we are 3-0 and none of the matches have been close.”
In fact, the closest match that Mercer Island has played was against Liberty on Wednesday; the Islanders won by 19 strokes.
The team’s score of 184 came on their new home course of Twin Rivers near Carnation.
Islanders Brian Tolkin and Daniel Kern tied and led the squad by shooting an even par 34. Mercer Island freshman Charlie Kern shot a four-over par 38.
The Islander’s depth as a team has been its biggest strength in the early going.
“Our depth is really good and just about where I thought we would be,” said Peters. “I thought we would have 10 guys who could shoot low. Now it is just a matter of finding the six hottest hands to play.”
None of the golfers were very hot against Sammamish at Bellevue Municipal Golf Course. The Islanders shot a combined 201 strokes for the day.
“That was one of our worst scores in a couple of years,” said Peters. “But we still won handily. I am not concerned.”
Luckily the Totems shot a 245 as a team.
The course was very different from the Islanders home at Twin Rivers.
“Twin Rivers is very wide open, and I was concerned that when we went to a narrow course we would be in the trees a lot,” said Peters. “But I think it was good news because that was a wakeup call that we can’t play the same way when we are not at home.”
During the match the highest scoring Islanders were senior Paul Mitzel, Kirby Ingram and Charlie Kern, all with three-over 37s. But the Islander depth came into play as Mercer Island’s scores were bunched at the top of the leader board with Brian Tolkin shooting a 38 and Sean Kitamura rounding out the top five with a five-over 39.
Very few players this season have consistently been at the top of the scoring — including many of the seniors.
“That is going to be the challenge,” said Peters. “We have to find a permanent top six.”
Mercer Island played a non-league match against one of the best 4A teams in the state Eastside Catholic on Tuesday (after Reporter deadline).
Mercer Island’s next big in-league match will come on Sept. 24, when the Islanders will host Mount Si at Twin Rivers.
“They have three really good players,” said Peters. “But I think we have a lot more depth, and the match should come down to the final three players.”