COLLEGE PARK — For Westminster golf coach Jeff Ibex, the mere presence of his Owls team at Friday's Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association state golf tournament in Prince George's County was enough to make him smile.
"You had to be good to get here," said Ibex, who servesas a co-coach of Westminster along with Guy Stull. "Until kids showed up this season, we didn't know what we were going to have.
"We knew we had two good, experienced kids coming back, but otherthan that, our No. 3 and 4 spots were up in the air. The way it is, I think we had an exceptionally good season with the kids and the experience we had."
With the players and the experience Westminster had, the Owls managed to pull out a 10th-place finish in the field of 17 teams at the University of Maryland Golf Course. The Owls finished37 strokes behind tournament champion Arundel, which turned in a team score of 655.
"I thought we'd be 10 strokes better today (Friday) than yesterday, but it didn't work out that way," said Ibex, whose team shot a 342 on Thursday and a 350 on Friday for a net 692.
"They gave it the best they could at the time, and that's all you can ask of them," he said.
Senior Dean Blankenship led the Owls with rounds of 79 and 80. Blankenship's two-day total of 159 was impressive, but paled in comparison to Walkersville's Colyn Keller, who won the individual state title after a state-record round of 68 on Friday.
"Dean had some holes where he may have lost his concentration, but that's how it goes," said Ibex, whose team went 11-1 in the regular season and finished fourth in the districts. "These kids are amateurs, but the kid who won it sure shot like a professional."
Darren Marting's 81 on Thursday, coupled with Blankenship's 81 and Todd Dorsey's 82, placed Westminster fourth at 358 after the first round.
Marting enjoyed another consistent round Friday, despite adding two strokesto his score of the previous round. The senior golfer tallied a pairof birdies and five pars en route to his closing round of 83.
Wesley Snow shot an even 100 on Thursday, but managed to shave four strokes off his game in the final round.
"I was shooting pretty good, but I couldn't score anything," Snow said. "I didn't like the greens here at all. You'd look at the hole and think it's going to break a foot, but it breaks about five or six feet on you. It was real hard toread them."
Dorsey's impressive opening round put him in the company of some solid golfers Friday, and the pressure seemed to wear on him as he finished out with a 91.
"I played with better competition today, and I just couldn't keep up," Dorsey conceded. "Sometimes ithelps your game (to play with better competition), but when you get off to a slow start, like I did, you just want to get out of there.
"Any time I start slow, I usually shoot bad, and that's what I did down here," Dorsey said. "I couldn't get off the tee today, and afterthat it just went downhill. (Thursday) I did, and that's the only reason I salvaged an 82."
While Dorsey is the only eligible player to return for the Owls, it doesn't appear now that he will. While he says that he loves the game of golf, Dorsey said he is ready to exchange his putter for shoulder pads.
"Basically, I'm an athlete who likes to play sports with action and contact," said Dorsey, who plans on playing football for
the Owls next fall. "I like playing golf for fun, but the pressure really gets to me."
Ibex said, "I think they did respectable today, and I think we had a good year for the teamwe had. I really do. I'm pleased with the season. The kids did a great job."