The Wylie boys’ varsity golf team may be young, but it isn’t without experience.
Ethan Stewart-Duke, a junior, and Tyler O’Connor, a senior, both have regional experience and are eager to make a return trip.
“Everyone’s kind of got a year under his belt,” Tyler said. “We have a lot of returners from last year. As a team, we want to make it to regionals. We haven’t done that in a while.”
Tyler spent the fall playing football, but is back at golf for the spring. The rest of the team spent most of the fall improving their golf games against some very tough competition.
Ethan said he likes playing tough tournaments.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “The better the competition, the more you want to get better. We did pretty good for being so young. We held our own and surprised a lot of people.”
Ethan did not start playing golf until his freshman year at Wylie.
“I have always played hockey but I moved here from Canada, and there isn’t too much hockey in Abilene,” he said. “A lot of hockey players play golf in the offseason. I thought I would give it a try.”
He quickly rose to the top and qualified for regionals last year as an individual. He said that regional experience will help him as he tries to go even farther this year.
“Seeing the scores I will have to shoot was really motivating,” he said of regionals. “Hopefully, I will make it to state this season. That’s the goal.”
Tyler, who grew up playing golf, qualified for regionals during his sophomore year two years ago, but fell short last year because of one bad round at district.
“It motivates me,” he said of that bad round. “That’s the No. 1 goal. We would like to go as a team, but if it doesn’t work out, I’d like to go individually.”
Tyler said the team has good chemistry, which helps each person individually.
“We are really selfless,” he said. “We are team players. We play for each other. We all have a goal and encourage each other.”
Ethan said the group has also been working extremely hard.
“A lot of the practice has paid off,” he said. “The last tournament I shot 75/72, so the practice has paid off.”
He said the goal is simple.
“Lets try to make it to regionals and shoot the best scores that we can,” he said. “Just try to shoot the best scores that you can each time you play.”