NAUGATUCK — Time may be all Naugatuck needs to have a successful golf season.
Head coach Craig Blanchard said this year’s team has plenty of potential to improve, but it all comes down to practice. The raw talent is there.
“I want my guys to win, be better golfers, have better short games,” Blanchard said. “And finding improvement in their game is the greatest satisfaction.”
Blanchard stopped short of saying that the Greyhounds could compete for a Naugatuck Valley League title with traditional powers like Holy Cross and Watertown, but he did say that Naugy could be a dangerous team once players shake off the winter rust.
Naugy finished eighth overall at the NVL tournament last season, led by Nick Tribanas, who shot an 85 in the 18-hole competition.
Tribanas, a junior, is the team’s top returner. He will serve as the team’s captain following an All-Copper Division performance last year in the NVL.
“Nick is the best golfer we have right now,” Blanchard said. “He’s a good all-around player. It’s not just one part of the game with Nick. He can drive the ball, he’s got a good second shot and he can chip.”
Tyler Sounanthanam, also a junior, returns and should see time in the No. 2 spot.
“Tyler has a very rhythmical swing,” Blanchard said. “He’s capable of shooting around 40 (on nine-hole courses), and if he does that it will make a big difference for our team.”
Juniors Brendan Waldron, Matt Jackson and Dan Capone also return for the Greyhounds. Waldron has potential to shoot in the mid-40s if he keeps working, Blanchard said.
“When Matt hits the ball well, he’s probably the longest driver on the team,” Blanchard said. “His putting and short game are good. He just needs to be consistent off the tee.”
Capone is a lefty who doesn’t hit the ball as far as Jackson, but he’s proven to have an effective game around the green.
Junior Tom Karas and freshman Jake Alcorace may also earn starting positions in select matches.
Blanchard said success will come from practice time, which happens at Hop Brook Golf Course. Good habits will carry over from round to round.
“Golf is a cumulative game,” Blanchard said.
The Greyhounds open their season April 22 at Chippanee Golf Club versus St. Paul.