Salamanca golf coach Gene Jankowski said Portville and Randolph will be the two toughest teams on his team’s schedule, but with the way the Warriors are playing, they will be right in the thick of things at the end of the season, assuming their younger golfers continue to shoot well.
On March 31, an unseasonably warm day allowed the Warriors to host Randolph, where the Cardinals won, 30-25.
Jankowski called that match an improvement from last season, but noted that his bottom three starters needed to shoot better in order to be more competitive by the end of the season.
Junior Kellen Quigley shot a match-low 40, while classmate Eric Morton shot a 42. But Randolph’s depth sealed the victory.
“It was a good start for Kellen and Eric,” Jankowski said.
After a long break, the Warriors returned to action against Ellicottville, which resulted in a 36-19 victory.
The Warriors were led by their the trio of captains, as Morton shot a 40, Quigley shot a 42 and senior Curtis Dux shot a 45. Also, sophomore Pat Fitzgerald shot his best career round, a 48, to give the Warriors the top four scores in the match.
“It was very windy and the temperatures were in the mid-40s, so to shoot scores like that early in the season is very encouraging,” Jankowski said. “Eric and Kellen are the best golfers on the team, but our success depends upon Curtis and Pat playing well to win the close matches for us. Derek Dux (eighth grade) continues to improve and he will get some keys points for us as well. He shot a 58.
“All of the these boys love to play golf, and they all have a different approach to being successful. Last season we split against Ellicottville, so this was big, winning this match.”
Days later, Salamanca went to Ischua Country Club and defeated Franklinville, 40-15.
The tri-captains led the way for Salamanca, as Morton once again medaled with a 40. Quigley shot a 42, Curtis Dux a 49, Pat Fitzgerald a 54, Derek Dux a 56 and freshman Mike Terhune shot a career-best 56.
“I was not sure what to expect with the scores as we played our second straight match with cool weather and a very strong wind,” Jankowski said. “You had to allow the wind to carry the shot, sometimes aiming way off line to get the ball to land on the greens.”
He said that Eric had a nice ninth hole, as he connected well off the tee and just missed the eagle putt.
“It is encouraging to see our younger golfers continue to play well. (This time) it was Mike Terhune’s turn. It will be difficult to keep Mike out of the starting six with the way he continues to improve, especially in these tough matches.”
Playing the third match in a week, Salamanca was clipped by Portville, 28.5-26.5. Morton shot a season-best round of 38.
“It was great that we closed the gap between the top teams in the league and are competitive enough to win these matches,” Jankowski said. “Now we need to improve our focus for every shot to drop one or two more strokes whenever possible. It cost us in this match.”
May 4 saw the Warriors fall to undefeated Olean, 34-21, to fall to 2-3 overall. Quigley’s round of 40 led the Warriors, but two Olean golfers shot better in the victory. Also for Salamanca, Morton shot a 44 and Dux a 46.
“Our golfers were disappointed with their scores,” Jankowski. said. “They wanted to have a good showing ag-ainst a very good team, and for the most part, we struggled. Kellen tied his best round of the season, and Curtis shot real close to his usual round of 45. Other than that, we all shot rounds over our average.
“We will put this match behind us and regroup.”
Randolph followed, and the Cardinals again won, 35-20. Morton led Salamanca with a 43, but Randolph’s Ryan Beach shot a 41 to medal. Dux shot a 45 and Quigley a 46 for Salamanca.
Next came the sectional qualifier match, where the league members sent their top golfers to Bartlett Country Club in Olean with hopes of qualifying. Morton received a free pass due to his appearance at the state tournament a year ago. He still shot a round - a 91 - but had already qualified.