Having switched the golf season from spring to fall, Prince George's County could have one of its more successful state tournaments when this year's event is held next week at the University of Maryland, according to coaches of the county's top two teams.
When county golf was played in the spring, golfers would get together for a few practices in the fall to try to compete in the district tournament to qualify for the state meet. However, by moving the season to the fall and competing at the same time as other jurisdictions, the coaches believe players are better prepared to qualify for and perform well in postseason tournaments.
Bowie won the District 3 team title to advance to the state tournament, which begins Tuesday in College Park. Douglass also posted a qualifying score, although the Eagles failed to advance because not enough teams participated in the district tournament.
To advance to the state tournament, a four-player team must shoot lower than 340. Each district gets a predetermined number of berths in the state tournament, depending on how many teams compete in the district tournament. Bowie shot 319 at the district tournament and Douglass shot 332, but the District 3 tournament had only nine teams participating, meaning that only one team would advance.
"I've coached golf in the county for 11 years and we've only gotten teams in the [state] tournament three times prior to this year," Douglass Coach Jim Woods said. "Even though my team can't go because there weren't enough teams in the [district] tournament, we would have had two make it this year, because it's all about shooting the number."
Bowie junior Ray Hyre won the individual title at the district tournament and teammate Billy Stoutsenberger, a senior, this month won his third consecutive county title. Douglass freshman Aaron Anderson, who was runner-up by one shot in the district and county tournaments, also qualified for the state tournament.
"It's definitely a big advantage [having the fall season] because you've got your kids playing competitively rather than coming out cold from just practicing, or some programs in the county didn't get together at all" previously in the fall, Bowie Coach Rodney Lathern said.
"I just knew that if they changed the format and went to the fall that we could get more than one team actually qualified for the state from Prince George's County. The proof was in the pudding."