A game as much mental as it is physical, golf requires patience and belief. Without confidence on the course, a golfer stands little chance.
When Kyle Clausen came into the season for Greenport/Southold, he was moving into the No. 1 spot for the first time as a senior. His expectation, Coach Dave Fujita said, was to shoot in the low 40s early in the season.
Fujita knew he could do even better.
“He started to believe that he could actually break 40,” Fujita said. “When he did — he broke 40 in the third match of the season with a 38 — from that point on he’s been low 40s, high 30s consistently.”
Clausen can drive the ball a great distance and has developed the consistency in his game to become the top golfer for the Clippers this season. The Clippers won their last match last Thursday, 5-4, against Hampton Bays to improve to 3-5 in League VII. Clausen led the team by shooting a 39.
Fujita said Clausen plays the game with a tremendous demeanor, never letting a bad shot throw off his game.
“That’s what you want as a golfer,” he said. “You can’t really dwell on what you did. You have to look forward and think about your next shot.”
Fujita said he tries to preach the importance of a positive attitude to all his golfers.
“Visualize what you want to do,” he said. “Have a purpose and think about what you want to do and decide and be convicted about that.”
Clausen has a spot in the county tournament in the spring locked up. A three-sport athlete, Clausen will also be playing baseball by the time that rolls around.
“It’s amazing that he’s able to come out and focus on his golf game so quickly,” Fujita said. “If he devoted 12 months a year [to golf], he’d be breaking par.”
Fujita said he’s confident his No. 2 golfer, junior David O’Day, will be headed to the tournament as well. O’Day has been a co-captain this season along with Clausen.
Fujita said O’Day has been consistent all season and entrenched himself as the team’s No. 2 player.
Robert Anderson has held down the third spot for the Clippers.
“All the guys are very anxious to improve and learn,” Fujita said. “As a coach it’s ideal. Our record could be a little bit better, but really they’ve played just about where I anticipated.”
The Clippers were set to return to action yesterday against Bishop McGann-Mercy. They won the first match against the Monarchs, 6 1/2-1 1/2, in September.