Hawks driving for the future on the links

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BEACON FALLS — Woodland golf coach Ross Cooper doesn’t read into the final results of his team’s matches. Woodland’s 1-4 start belies an important point about the future of the team.

“We’re improving,” Cooper said on Monday evening following a loss to Holy Cross at Western Hills.

Despite the 163-183 loss to the Crusaders, three of Woodland’s top four golfers shot a 46 or lower. Senior Anthony Memoli shot a team-best 42 on the par-36, nine-hole stretch on the Waterbury course.

Memoli, who plans to play golf at Post University next year, has been the Hawks’ best player in the first four matches. He shot a 43 and was the medalist in Woodland’s match against Naugatuck on April 21 at Oxford Greens.

“Anthony has been the best player I’ve had as a head coach,” said Cooper, now in his fourth season at the helm for Woodland. “He’s capable of shooting in the 30s.”

In his other two matches, Memoli shot a 40 against Torrington at Oxford Greens and 41 against St. Paul at Chipanee. Cooper said he has been working closely with Memoli on his drives.

“Anthony can hit the ball a ton and he’s pretty good around the green,” Cooper said. “He’s also a real student of the game and is easy to coach.”

On Monday, Mike Segala, an upstart junior, shot a 45 and senior Nick Veneri posted a 46 for the Hawks, who have also faced Sacred Heart, Naugatuck and St. Paul thus far. Cooper spoke highly of Segala and Veneri.

“Mike has been consistently good,” Cooper said. Segala carded his best round of the season to date on Monday.

Veneri has been in the 40s in three of his first four rounds and has been Woodland’s second-leading scorer twice. Segala has posted the Hawks’ second-best score in the team’s other two matches.

“These guys really haven’t hit their strides yet,” Cooper said.

Senior Kyle Mascoli (50) and junior Pat O’Dell (54) also participated for the Hawks on Monday.

Mascoli was described by Cooper as being an important member of the team. His leadership is constantly on display during practice and on match days, Cooper said.

O’Dell continues to work on his game and could become more of a factor down the stretch.

“I have faith Pat’s game will improve with practice,” Cooper said.

And that’s the theme of the first part of the season—getting better. Cooper said the goals are clear: Get the team’s scoring average below 180 per match, qualify for state tournament play and finish at or better than .500.

“We’re getting close, and we should hold our heads high, win or lose,” Cooper said.

On Tuesday, Woodland lost to perennial power Torrington, 165-205. Memoli led the team with a 40, while Mascoli carded a 52 and the O’Dell brothers, Pat and Andrew, turned in a pair of 56s.

Woodland was set to host Northwestern on Wednesday at Oxford Greens before playing at Shepaug Valley on Thursday and at Watertown on Tuesday.