As the 2003 boys golf season gets underway at Hood River Valley, only a few similarities are apparent from last year’s squad.
For starters, three of the five varsity team members — senior Jake Morgan, junior Jimmy Woodruff and sophomore Herbie Annala — are the same.
But besides the three most recognizable faces and the practice greens at Indian Creek, there may not be another constant from 2002.
With just two days left until the Eagles’ first match (Friday’s The Dalles Invitational), the two remaining slots on the varsity roster are still up for grabs between juniors Kyle Griffith, Matt McClure and Chris Perry, and sophomore Alex Bryan.
“Those four kids are having a three-day proving session right now,” said coach Bill DeBorde, who is returning to duty in 2003 after taking last year off. “It’s pretty even, and that’s the way I like it.”
DeBorde explained that the more internal competition he has on the roster, the better the team’s scores will be in competition.
“Once you enter into an actual competition — like these kids are this week — the game changes,” he said. “If you miss one putt, that could be the difference between playing in the next match or staying home.”
DeBorde said that because Griffith, McClure, Perry and Bryan are so even, he expects his traveling roster to change slightly from week to week.
“No position is sacred, even with the top three guys,” he said. “I don’t expect to see much change with Jake, Jimmy or Herbie because all three are very determined this year. The other kids have desire, too, but they lack the experience.”
The Eagles’ big three hope to make up for the loss of 2002 state qualifier Andy Murphy by consistently shooting in the low- to mid-70s. DeBorde expects his other two varsity players to shoot in the low- to mid-80s, which would put the team right in the middle of the Intermountain Conference.
“Bend and Summit are both very good teams,” DeBorde said. “Pendleton always seems to put together a strong team as well. I don’t really know what to expect in this league, but if we put in the effort, we have the chance of being a really good team.”