The unrelenting rain two weeks ago that soaked Columbia Country Club and chilled the players didn't faze DeMatha's Pat Moylan. No matter that the weather had reduced his match play tournament against Bowie's Craig Waters to a test of wills and nerve.
While nearly everyone else was bothered and adversely affected by the wind and rain, Moylan quickly dispatched his opponent, 5 and 4, and also won best ball in his foursome to lead DeMatha to an 8-1 victory. The victory was an unprecedented third straight for the school known better for dunks and blitzes, than chip shots and birdies.
"I had to finish this as quickly as possible. I'm going to a prom tonight," said Moylan. Earning varsity letters in four sports, including four in golf, doesn't leave much time for reflecting on his achievements.
Two months ago he almost led the Stags to an upset of No. 1 ranked Spingarn in the city championship basketball game. The day before the golf championships, he pitched DeMatha's baseball team to the Metro Conference regular season baseball crown.
If that's not enough, he's a 4.0 student. No doubt about it, things seem to come easily to Moylan. But that doesn't stop him from taking things seriously, especially golf.
Four years ago, DeMatha Coach Ray Smith took a gamble. He decided to test Moylan and two other freshmen, Joe Rhoa and Danny Podoley, against varsity competition. Smith, a three-sport all-Met at Gonzaga in the mid-50s, knew that quality athletes respond to pressure, so he tested them from the start.
That risk turned into a stroke of genius as that trio won 53 of 55 matches since 1982. For the past three seasons, the Stags have been perfect, winning 41 consecutive matches, three area schoolboy championships and three straight Eastern Independent Golf Association titles.
His players have grown so confident that when Smith realized the schoolboy trophy had been left at school, Moylan deadpanned, "What's the rush? Nobody's going to take it from us."
Moylan and his teammates backed up his prediction with near flawless play, but nothing could calm Smith until the match was over. Not even when Podoley, the son of former Washington Redskin Jim Podoley, defeated Bowie captain Bobby Obranovich, 3 and 2, and Rhoa topped Tony Mills, 2 and 1, did Smith break his stern game face. Not even Steve Woda's 6-and-5 defeat of Mike Luckett or Ray Bellamy's surprising 4-and-3 victory against Glen Gunther broke the tension. Only when freshman Tim Woda lost, 2 and 1, to Bowie's Jason Rabel did Smith start the glad-handing.
Nineteen years ago, when Smith started DeMatha's program, he never thought it would outperform Morgan Wootten's basketball team in winning percentage for a three-year period.
"In the beginning, I just needed enough golfers to field a team," Smith said. "Once we crossed that hurdle, then we thought about winning. And that wasn't easy."
Hamstrung by sparse talent in the beginning, Smith tried to gain the most advantageous matchups by mixing up his team's order, sometimes placing his top player in the No. 6 slot. Eventually the talent improved. Gary Mankulish, who won the 1972 schoolboy individual title, was the first quality golfer at DeMatha. Soon afterward, Kevin and Timmy Moylan arrived to infuse consistency, but it wasn't until the arrival of Rhoa, Podoley and Pat Moylan that DeMatha became one of the area's nest golf teams.
"We've got some truly excellent players, young men who'd surely be the best player on the team at any other school," Smith said. "Guys like Andy Schroeder, Keith Robertson and Keith Cotaldo -- their presence gives us the best depth in the area."
But one question remains. Is DeMatha the best in Maryland?
"Of course, we are," Smith said. "Schools like Seneca Valley and Wootton have some great individual golfers, but no one has our depth. We beat Langley last fall in the Quantico Invitational when it was the Virginia state champion.
"But I do wish Montgomery County schools played in the spring."