By Jake Thompson
PLAINFIELD — Opening day of the golf season may have never looked better weather-wise for the Plainfield Quakers, except for the gusting wind. After a few weeks of turbulent spring conditions the Quakers finally played a match against an actual opponent Tuesday night, Mid-State Conference rival Decatur Central.
Plainfield hosted Decatur at Oak Tree Golf Course, clipping the Hawks’ wings, 170-180.
“I called it before we started, (the wind) added two to three strokes to our players’ scores,” Plainfield coach Jon Utterback said. “We have a young team and a young team needs to get some of the bumps out of the road. A lot of these guys haven’t been in a varsity competition before and we needed to get one under our belt and I’m sure they will now be able to exhale a little bit.”
Ryan Schuld took home individual medalist honors for the Quakers, carding a 40.
“That was nice to hear that he got down there and took the medal,” Utterback said.
Plainfield’s squad of Johnny Gulley (41), Grant Beanblossom (44), and Nick Kinney (45) made up the rest of the Quakers’ scoring.
“I had a few surprises tonight with a couple of players that came in higher than I thought, but also a couple who came in lower,” Utterback said.
Gulley advanced to the state finals last season as a freshman and will be leaned upon to help lead the Quakers throughout the season with consistency.
“Johnny doesn’t act like a sophomore and doesn’t play like one,” Utterback said. “It’s a great experience for him to have gone to state last season and it really helps us as we lost some great players.”
Rylan Porter and John Daum both were solid contributors last season with Porter placing fourth at the state meet.
In their first match of the season, Utterback liked what he saw from his squad but also knows there was plenty of room for improvement.
“We’ve got some pretty good potential on the team,” Utterback said. “It’s a young group, but I like where we are heading.”
Decatur Central’s team of Zack Knight (43), Josh Bain (45), Greg Balsano (46) and Andrew Evans (46) missed knocking off the Quakers for its first conference victory of the season.
“It’s nice to get a conference win but I still more think about the end of the year and not the beginning,” Utterback said. “With a young team I am not going to obsess with wins and losses. If I can get my four and five golfers to come along throughout the season, then at the end of the season I think we’ve got a shot.”
Plainfield (1-0, 1-0 conf.) now heads to the Center Grove Invitational this Saturday.