Mon, July 22

Mingus Golf: Teammates compete to fill holes
Seven golfers compete for No. 4 and No. 5 spots while top three work on short game

VVN/Wendy Phillippe
The Mingus Union golf team works on putting during practice.

VVN/Wendy Phillippe The Mingus Union golf team works on putting during practice.

With a couple of matches under their belts, the Mingus Union Golf team is beginning to take shape. The top three spots on the team are already picked and the last two are up for grabs amongst seven golfers vying for the spot.

With the vacancies ready to be filled, the Marauders have had some time to practice, put in the time needed and face some region rivals in non-region matches.

On Sept. 2, the Mingus golf team played against Coconino, Flagstaff and Page at the Sedona Oak Creek Golf Course. After 9-holes, the Marauders emerged the victors. With the win, Mingus also had the medalist winner with Richard Paynter who shot a 41.

Following Paynter was Ryan Roland with a 44, Wally Wilburn with a 45 and Michael Rebstein with a 49.

On Sept. 5-6 the Marauders traveled to Prescott for the Bradshaw Mountain Invitational. Some of the other Mingus golfers got their turn on the course with the practice round on Friday and competition on Saturday.

Wilburn led the pack with an 88 on the 18-hole course. Travis Duwyenie surprised coach Craig Mai with a score of 89 to finish second out of the Mingus five. Dillon Fielitz finished with a 100, followed by Rebstein with 101 and JC Lawler with a 102.

"They weren't satisfied with their scores," said coach Mai. "We'll see where we're at and they will have to work harder to improve."

The Marauders were supposed to play in the Flagstaff Invitational on Monday and Tuesday, but the event was cancelled, so the players got extra time to practice at Verde Santa Fe Golf Course.

Currently the top three on the team are Roland, Paynter and Wilburn. The other two spots will need to be filled before the region tournament, but there is plenty of time for the other golfer to show what they can do before that time comes.

"I am looking for those who will step it up and show they want the No. 4 or No. 5 spot," said coach Mai. "Seven individuals are fighting for that. I am not just looking for the lowest score, but also someone who is committed to working hard and good practice habits."

As far as the progress of the team and its skills, the top three are still struggling with their short game (under-100 yards).

"They are going to get more consistent, especially as we get more opportunities," said coach Mai. "We are focusing on chipping and putting."

If the Marauders want to take the region championship this year, they are going to have to go through Sinagua to do it.

"Sinagua is the team to beat," said coach Mai. "If we want to compete with them, then we are going to have to step up and improve. We've got a team to look up to and battle with. But if we want to win the region, we will have to beat Sinagua."

On Thursday the golf team traveled back to Oak Creek to take on a handful of Phoenix schools from the 5A and 4A conference as well as Coconino.

"It will be nice to see different teams," said coach Mai. "Then we'll have a week off to practice and do drills before playing next Thursday."

Coach Mai took Ryan Roland, Paynter, Wilburn, Duwyenie and Jazmine Roland to face those teams and to get more time on the greens.

"We'll rotate the seven players so they all have a chance to compete and step it up," said Mai. "We will try to get those seven players some more experience and opportunity. The players will be changed up for most of the season."

The Marauders will travel to Bradshaw Mountain on Sept. 18 to take on Bradshaw, Flagstaff and Page. Then they travel to Flagstaff on Sept. 23.