Short ros­ter, no prob­lem

CSM golf fields just 4 but ready for sea­son

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­

Granted, Col­lege of South­ern Mary- land third-year head golf coach Rob­bie Early will only have a grand sum of four play­ers on the ros­ter this spring, but the Hawks coach and his top re­turn- ing sopho­more, Mark Es­canilla, will be very fa­mil­iar with the team’s home course and ex­pect the team’s qual­ity will off­set its lack of quan­tity.

Early is the head golf pro­fes­sional at Swan Point Yacht & Coun­try Club in Is­sue and it also hap­pens to be the home course for CSM and Es­canilla, a North Point High School grad­u­ate from Wal- dorf who rou­tinely fin­ishes within three strokes of par at the par-72 course. Early ad­mit­tedly took up golf some­what be­lat­edly, but Es­canilla has been hit­ting the links for over 10 years now.

“I’ve al­ways liked play­ing Swan Point,” said Es­canilla, whose best round there is a 7-un­der-par 65 while ad­mit­tedly nor­mally hov­er­ing two or three strokes above par. “It’s one of the more chal- leng­ing cour­ses in the area and it’s one of those cour­ses that def­i­nitely re­quires you to be good at ev­ery as­pect of your game, es­pe­cially in the short game.”

Es­canilla is one of only two re­turn­ing play­ers on the squad along with Bryan Bowser (a North­ern High School grad­u­ate from Dunkirk) and that tan­dem is joined by only two in­com­ing fresh­men, Alex O’Neil (a St. Mary’s Ryken High School grad­u­ate from New­burg) and Ryan Stearns (a Leonard­town High School grad­u­ate from Leonard­town).

The Hawks will only field a trio of golf- ers for their sea­son opener on March 23 at Swan Point as Stearns is part of the CSM men’s bas­ket­ball team that won the NJCAA Re­gion XX Divi­sion II tour­na­ment last week­end at Garrett Col­lege and will be headed to Danville Area Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Illi­nois for the NJCAA Divi­sion II na­tional champi- on­ships March 21 to 25.

Early, who has been a mem­ber of the Pro­fes­sional Golfers As­so­ci­a­tion since June 1, was named the head golf pro at Swan Point on July 1 and now over­sees a quar­tet of play­ers at CSM who play there on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Al­though Stea- rns will be ab­sent for the sea­son opener against Hager­stown Com­mu­nity Col­lege, Ce­cil Com­mu­nity Col­lege, Al­le­gany Com­mu­nity Col­lege, Garrett Col­lege and Anne Arun­del Com­mu­nity Col­lege, he should be avail­able to the Hawks when they face Anne Arun­del at South River on March 30.

“I’m happy for Ryan and all the guys on the CSM men’s team,” Early said. “Those guys worked hard in prac­tice all sea­son and now they get to play for a na­tional cham­pi­onship. We only have four guys on the ros­ter, but most teams send out five and then the top four score so it’s not that big a dif­fer­ence. The qual­ity of the four guys that we have is re­ally good and I’m ex­cited to see what they can do this sea­son.”

Es­canilla will be the team’s No. 1 player, but Early is al­ready high on O’Neil, who was the run- ner-up in the Swan Point men’s club cham­pi­onship last year. Early ex­pects Bowser, whose home course is Old South Coun- try Club in Anne Arun­del Coun- ty, and Stearns, who cur­rently hones his skills at Bre­ton Bay Golf & Coun­try Club in Leon- ard­town, should quickly adapt to the set­ting at Swan Point.

“There’s no doubt that Swan Point is prob­a­bly the tough­est course our guys play, but they’re fa­mil­iar with it and that should give us an ad­van­tage when we host the Re­gion XX tour­na­ment on May 6 and 7,” Early said. “Bryan should be able to score in the mid-70s and Alex has a lot of poise for a young kid and he played ex- cep­tion­ally well here in the club cham­pi­onship. My as­sis- tant coach, David Rus­sell is the head coach at La Plata and he knows that Ryan will be able to play our course well.”

CSM will par­tic­i­pate in a pre­sea­son scrim­mage March 20 to 22 in Wil­liams­burg, Va. then re­turn home for its sea­son opener on March 23 still one player short. The Hawks will then have a full com­ple­ment of play­ers for their away matches against Anne Arun­del on March 30 at South River, Ce­cil (April 6), Hager­stown (April 13), Al­le­gany (April 20) and at Garrett for the Mary­land Ju­nior Col­lege Ath­letic Con­fer­ence tour­na­ment on April 27.

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