Top players qualified for CCS despite subpar team record

May 20, 2023 — by Saachi Jain, Amy Luo and Sarah Zhou
Photo by Howard Shu
Sophomore Aidan Smith hits his approach shot on the 18th hole during league finals at Santa Teresa golf course en route to a birdie.
Sophomore Oliver Pott and senior Howard Shu qualified for CCS following unexpected results at league finals.

After placing top three in the De Anza League for the past four years, the boys’ golf team had a subpar 2023 season, dropping to sixth place out of seven teams. The Falcons finished  with a 3-8-1 league record and failed to qualify for CCS.

The team maintained almost the same roster as last year — when they ended the season with a 5-6-1 record and qualified for CCS as a team — and expected to see improved results this year, which wasn’t the case.

“On paper, we were supposed to be better with one more year of practice, but that didn’t happen,” senior No. 4 player Howard Shu said. “There weren’t any major setbacks; it was just a pretty disappointing season overall since most of us couldn’t find the same level of consistency that we had last year.”

The team, coached by David Gragnola, saw mixed results towards the end of their season, including a 205-216 victory against Monta Vista on April 27; a 199-203 loss against Los Gatos on April 24; a 191-211 loss against Palo Alto on April 17; a 213-214 victory against Cupertino on April 6; a 194-198 loss against Lynbrook on April 3; a 211-222 victory against Los Gatos on March 30 and a 205-214 victory against Cupertino on March 27.

Only two individuals, sophomore No. 2 player Oliver Pott and Shu, qualified for CCS during leagues on May 3 after shooting 77 and 75 respectively on the Santa Teresa Golf Course. During CCS on May 9 at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, both Pott and Shu shot 78, just three shots shy of qualifying for finals. 

With half of the top six players graduating this year — seniors Shu, No. 3 player Sunny Aswani and No. 5 player Cameron Sy — the Falcons will heavily rely on currently benched underclassmen to step up when they qualify for the starting lineup next season.

Pott and Shu both attributed the lack of success this season to inadequate practice during the off-season and emphasized the importance of players working on swings before next year’s season. Pott believes that the team didn’t take golf as seriously as they should have at the start of the season, leading to the losses of a few easier matches.

Additionally, members of the team faced a difficult mental game, as players often felt under pressure to perform. According to Shu, strong scores from five to six players are needed to win a match, but typically only three to four players played well.

“Much of the team, including myself, was not really prepared for the season this year,” Shu said. “If the team is able to start off strong it makes it much easier to carry momentum and confidence through the season, which I think is how we did well last year.”

Tags: CCS golf, golf
4 views this week