FULTON, Ill. — The Fulton golf team is unbelievably young, but once again they did enough to claim the team victory.
It was the first time at their home course this year. After Monday's meet was rained out, the Steamers took to Fulton Country Club for their first competition, beating Rock Falls 166-168.
“We have everybody back from varsity last year except for one," Fulton coach Kebin Ver Hoeven said. "We’re looking for some good things. We have some work to do to get there but it’ll be a good challenge to see how much we can improve.”
But the athletes the Steamers did return are proving to be crucial to their success. Junior Andrew Shrader is a returning state qualifier from the 2017 season, and once again led his team. He finished Tuesday afternoon with a score of 37.
“He’s back, he’s had a great summer, he’s played a lot," Ver Hoeven said. "I’m looking forward to a lot of great golf from him.”
Following up Schrader's performance was sophomore Patrick Wiebenga with a 49.
Junior Alex Hartman and senior Brady shaver both came in with a 45.
"Andrew and Patrick were good and Alex and Brady fought back after poor starts," Ver Hoeven said. "We competed well and I'm sure we will continue to improve."
Ian Wiebenga and Josh VanderPloeg rounded out the team score. Schrader and VanderPloeg, who is a sophomore, are touted as the team's leaders—both for skill and attitude.
“It’s just their actions and how hard they work when they come out to practice each day," Ver Hoeven said.
It's good to have that leadership on a team littered with eight freshman and a couple sophomores.
“That’s the challenge. Some of them you’re starting with just how to put the ball on the tee," Ver Hoeven said. "Some have developed bad habits because they’ve just taken it up so the challenge is finding out where each one is at and getting them along.
“As we get more into the meat of the schedules will see more about how the kids respond when adversity strikes. It’s a lot easier to practice then it is to go out and play.”
The Steamers return to competition at Fulton Country Club in a week, when they host a triangular meet with Hall and Kewanee High Schools.