Boys’ Golf Preaches Leadership

The boys’ golf season is underway, and the team is welcoming lots of new talent. Only two seniors returned, Charlie Roberts and Kevin Cortez, along with seven juniors. Freshman Luke Roberts also joined the team. 

“I think we’re doing alright right now,” said Cortez. “Obviously, we lost a bunch of seniors, so we don’t have as much depth as last year. But, we do have some future talent,” he added.

Coach Young expressed his excitement with the younger talent on the team. Talent such as freshman Luke Roberts, who shot a 77 earlier in the season. “It’s the lowest score I can recall by a freshman at OPRF in a very long time,” he said.

The team is more than halfway through the season and has already competed in and won some tournaments, such as the Champagne Invite. “We finished somewhere in the middle of the pack of about 12 teams in the Champagne Invite,” said Head Coach Bill Young. “Kevin Cortez came in 10th in that tournament, shooting a 77 which is his lowest 18 hole score,” the coach added.

“I shot a 45 on the front 9 and then a 32 on the back 9,” said Cortez. 

“It might be the best and worst golf I’ve ever played in my life, and it was on the same day,” he added.

The team also won the Husky Cup, an annual match against the Naperville North Huskies, which the team won last year as well. The team has tournaments coming up against Lyons Township at the Oak Park Country Club, a match against Downers Grove South in Oak Brook, and a Hinsdale Central Tournament at Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien. 

Young continued to talk about the leadership that the two seniors, Roberts and Cortez, have displayed to the other members of the team. “Last year we lost our four best players after they graduated, and we only have two seniors left,” said young.

“Kevin and Charlie are certainly our leaders and they’ve done a great job,” he added

 “Charlie has been on the team for four years and he’s certainly a leader. The way he carries himself, his work ethic, you can definitely tell that it impacts the rest of the team.”

“We had such a great group of seniors on the team last year, and being able to spend time around them gave me and Kevin role models that prepared us for taking on that leadership role this year,” said Roberts.

Young added praise for Cortez as well, talking about his progress from last year. “Kevin just joined the team last year, but his scores have improved dramatically,” said the coach. “He’s shooting six shots better per nine holes this year than he was last year, which is a remarkable achievement” he said.

The Illinois Junior Golf Association is a non-profit organization for junior golfers from 8-18 years old that hosts events. “When I started coaching we had maybe three or four kids in the IJGA. Now, we had 12 boys in the program playing in it which is absolutely remarkable,” Young said. 

“That indicates how serious our boys are and how much better they are getting. It’s great to watch this happening over the course of their four years.”

Hard work is an important part of getting better at anything, especially golf, and the program at OPRF is all about getting better and trusting the process while still competing while here.  With the team going into the back half of the season, Coach Young isn’t just worried about the result of the current season, but also the future of the program. “It’s been really enjoyable to coach them this year,” he said. 

“We have productive practices, there’s great vibes on the team and these kids all support each other.”