Anne Arundel Community College golf coach Cal Peterson understands the pressures associated with the sport.
After guiding the Pioneersto a 17-1 record last year, the 22-year coach could only watch as his five-member squad came apart at the seams at the Maryland JuCo Athletic Association's Division II Region XX golf tournament at Holly Hills Golf Club in Frederick.
"Everything came unraveled," said Peterson, whose team will play host to the tournament May 3, 4 and 5 at Dwight D. Eisenhower Golf Course in Crownsville. "Golf is a strange game and sometimes things go the way of luck, and, unfortunately, everything went amok at the sametime.
"We had a very successful year and I think they just put too much pressure on themselves."
To alleviate some of that tension this year, Peterson, who also directs the Wellness Program at the Arnold campus, is setting a simple goal: improvement.
Although his team already has surpassed last year's regular-season loss total -- twolosses against three wins -- he is confident that with any progress,the Pioneers will make their mark in the postseason.
"We're doingvery well and the players are playing up to their potential," he said after two eight-stroke losses to Frederick and Charles. "If they continue to improve, we'll have a good year."
Two Pioneers who already have shown progress this season are the No. 1 and No. 2 players, Scott Boyd and Jason Doyle. Now that these two sophomores have a year of competition under their belts, Peterson sees no reason why they shouldn't fare well at the region tournament and qualify for the nationals.
"They both appear to have a better mental approach to the game this season and that should help," said Peterson. "It's hard to concentrate when you're tight, and this year, they both seem more relaxed."
As No. 1 man for the Pioneers, Boyd knows he can't relax too much if his team is to be successful. While he enjoys playing in Anne Arundel's top spot, the Archbishop Spalding graduate doesn't feel anydifferent than he did last year when he occupied the No. 2 position.
"It's not really a big deal being No. 1, but I like it," said Boyd, a 1-handicap golfer out of Bay Hills Golf Club in Arnold. "I like to play first just to get out there before everybody else."
Doyle hopes he can perform as well in matches as he does on the range and in practice rounds. The 4-handicapper probably wouldn't mind having the kind of senior year he had at North Kingstown High in Rhode Island where he was a first-team All-Eastern Division selection as well as team MVP.
"I'm still working on my short game and my putting," saidDoyle. "Case in point, last week, I shot an 82, but I had five three-putts, so my score goes to hell."
Battling for the No. 3 spot on the Pioneers roster are freshmen Ron Getek and Chris Haag. Getek, a 1987 Broadneck graduate, earned the spot before last Thursday's match against Frederick (the Pioneers lost, 330-338). But Haag, from Upper Dublin High in Philadelphia, will try to unseat his teammate before their match this Wednesday against Villa Julie and Allegheny CommunityCollege.
"The No. 3 and 4 spots are pivotal in any match, and these guys being so evenly matched makes for good in-house competition,"said Peterson. "In the past, our third and fourth guys have been as strong as No. 1 and 2, but not this year. Still, they're both coming along well and they'll both contributed."
Rounding out Anne Arundel's roster and playing in the often "decisive" No. 5 slot are sophomore Chris Winn and freshman Barbara Johanson.
"Chris has a couple of kinks he has to work out and when he does he'll start making rapid improvement," said Peterson. "Barbara is a competitor, but she's at adisadvantage because there are no concessions made for females, and they have to play from men's tees."