Junior Nihal Gulati winds up for a swing during the golf team's March 1 match. (Photo by Arikta Trivedi)

Golf team wins first match, improves rapidly

Country Day won its first golf match against Valley Christian and lost its second against Sacramento Adventist on Feb. 22 and March 1.

For its first match of the season, the team did not meet the five-player requirement to compete as a group, so sophomore Samrath Pannu played against three players from Valley Christian, while freshman Delsyn Beaton and junior Nihal Gulati played in another group against two players from Valley Christian. The golf team has four players in total, with sophomore Shivom Sharma not playing in either match.

This meant that the Cavs did not receive a team score or a rank, but instead used the individual scores of each player to determine their standings. If a team was present, the top five scores would be compared to find the winning team.

Despite this disadvantage, the Cavs earned lower scores and won their match.

Gulati said Pannu, who scored a 54, 18 over par, played well.

“Samrath is clearly the best player on the team, by far,” Gulati said.

Team coach Matt Vargo said that the team played well.

“All three are getting off the tee pretty well, which means they are driving the ball pretty well,” he said.

Pannu, who placed 1st, is hoping to play even better at the next match.

“There’s a difference between coming in first place and playing to your best potential,” he said. “I definitely could have played better.”

Pannu said his teammates both played well.

Gulati and Pannu are already looking ahead to the next game and hoping to improve their skills. Gulati wants to work on consistency with his shots.

“I just plan to practice more,” he said.

Pannu hopes to work on his short game.

“Off the tee I hit my driver just fine to around 270 yards and that’s easy. I’ll get it close to the green, but getting it on to the green is always an issue,” he said. “It’s that close range stuff that you need to master and perfect.”

Despite losing to Sacramento Adventist in its second match, Vargo and Pannu said the team played well.

“All three of them beat their scores from last week on a tougher course,” Vargo said. “So they’re showing improvement”

There were also some moments that Vargo found exciting.

“Samrath had a nice par, Delsyn almost sunk a 30-foot putt and Nihal had a couple of nice long drives,” he said.

Pannu had wanted to improve his short game, and was able to do so. He had a new issue in the second game.

He had trouble hitting off the tee in the first few holes of the match, but was able to refocus later in the game and play better, but hopes to improve this further.

Vargo thought that players needed to work on chipping, which is a specific, narrow shot to briefly send the ball in the air before it rolls towards the hole.

Despite the loss, Pannu was happy with their performance.

“Everyone walked away with a smile on their face regardless of what the score meant,” he said. “For us, it was improvement all around, and that is a step towards getting that perfect score.”

— By Samhita Kumar

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