Coach Jack Stoddard began his 20th year at the helm of the DHS boys’ golf team last Wednesday afternoon in Sandwich following a 14-3 record in 2007 and a fifth-place finish in the State championships. The veteran coach hopes that he can at least duplicate last year’s performance and is trying to avoid the dreaded sophomore jinx.

Coach Jack Stoddard began his 20th year at the helm of the DHS boys’ golf team last Wednesday afternoon in Sandwich following a 14-3 record in 2007 and a fifth-place finish in the State championships. The veteran coach hopes that he can at least duplicate last year’s performance and is trying to avoid the dreaded sophomore jinx.

With a roster that includes eight sophomores, two of whom were regular contributors last season, the Dragons are hoping a year of experience will be a benefit and not the beginning of bad luck that the jinx is supposed to cause.{sidebar id=4}

Despite an opening loss to Sandwich (243-256) that had Stoddard fuming over the condition of the greens on the par-36 Sandwich Hollows course, the Duxbury coach is optimistic on the season’s prospects after turning back (196-199) league foe, Hingham High School, the following day.

“I feel pretty good after beating them on their home course,” said Stoddard. “Pembroke is pretty good, and Scituate and Hanover can give you trouble, but is usually boils down to us and Hingham for the Patriot League title and I think we’ll have the home course advantage when they come down here.”

While senior captains Mark Tedeschi, Andy Puopolo, and Wes Barrington bring a combined 11 years of varsity experience to the team, the Dragons will look to sophomores Phil Sciretta and Jonathan Stoddard to be their top two players.

“Phil is an unbelievable competitor,” said Stoddard. “No matter what the situation is he can find a way to win, while Jonathan is a great putter who can be just as competitive as Sciretta and grind out a win when you need it.”

Of the six remaining sophomores, Brayden Minihan looks like he could be a find for the Duxbury coach. Having been the #1 player on the DHS tennis team as a freshman last spring, Minihan brings a fiery attitude to the course and is as tough a competitor as you can find.{sidebar id=1}

“He’s the type of kid that will can a 20-foot putt to win a match,” said his coach.

Billy Curley and Kevin Kuchuk have also been shooting well in the JV matches and Stoddard thinks their improved play will eventually get them into the varsity rotation.

James Magner, who shot rounds of 43 and 44 in the first two matches, has a serious shot at being a regular in the six-man rotation, while classmates Stephan Krall and Bryan Barry will battle it out for playing time.

The find of the pre-season has been freshman Curtis Owen, who shot a 41 against Sandwich.

“I tried to get him to play some tournaments this summer, but he wasn’t able to get in many of them. Fortunately he came right into the fray and showed he could be competitive right out of the box,” said Stoddard.

While Sciretta and Stoddard battle the opponent’s top players, the Dragons will be relying on their three captains to assure the team of a trio of wins.

“Barrington can drive the ball over 300 yards and has been on the team for four years, while Tedeschi has been right along side of him and gives you his best effort every time out,” said Stoddard. “The thing that impressed me about Puopolo is that he took time this summer to work on his game and shot very well (43/42) in our first two matches.”

In the opener against Sandwich, Sciretta (40), Minihan (41), Owen (41), Puopolo (43), Magner (43), and Stoddard (45) combined for Duxbury’s 246, while Stoddard (36/birdie), Sciretta (39/2 birdies), Barrington (39/2 birdies), Tedeschi (40), and Puopolo (42) accounted for the 196 versus the Harbormen.