April 26, 2009
Will Swedenburg wants to do more at 10 a.m. Monday than help the Heritage Academy golf team just qualify for the Mississippi Private School Association Class AAA State Tournament.
Playing on their home course at Columbus Country Club, Swedenburg and his Heritage Academy golf teammates feel they have a shot to challenge Pillow Academy and the rest of the top teams at the North AAA Tournament.
"We''re all going to have to play decent," Swedenburg said. "We know where to go if we''re in a bad spot and what do to because we''re familiar with the course."
Swedenburg, a junior, said Jase Dalrymple, Cade Lott, Bryce Rader, and Hunter Brown are going to have to play up to their potential. But he said everyone will have to play better if the Patriots are going to catch Pillow Academy.
Dalrymple said Swedenburg can shoot par (72) if he wants to. He hopes to contribute Monday to the team''s finish.
"I have had a disappointing season individually, but as a team I think if we all play good the same day we can win any tournament we go to," Dalrymple said. "We haven''t really put it together. When one person plays good, another person will play bad."
Dalrymple and Cade Lott aren''t sure why the Patriots haven''t been able to card four solid rounds on one day. They agree, though, that playing at Columbus Country Club could give them a certain comfort level.
Swedenburg has earned medalist honors twice this season and has been the team''s top player for most of the season.
Last year, Robert Glenn (73), Caleb Westmoreland (77), and Swedenburg (78) paced Heritage Academy to a 311, which edged Pillow Academy by four strokes to win the North AAA Tournament in Greenwood.
Swedenburg then shot an 89 behind Robert Glenn (88) and Caleb Westmoreland (84) at the AAA State Tournament as the Patriots finished seventh out of eight teams.
He said he has improved nearly every facet of his game this season and hopes to put it all together Monday.
"This is the first year I have really taken it seriously," Swedenburg said. "I have putted a lot better. I can still use some improvement. My long game helps me a lot."
Heritage Academy coach Ed Lott is looking to Swedenburg to set the tempo for the Patriots. He said Swedenburg has "done more than he expected" this season to lead the team.
"He has improved on everything," Lott said. "He has always played other sports and really over the last few years has taken up golf and started taking it seriously. He has learned along the way."
The top four teams will advance to the North AAA Tournament.
Lott said Pillow Academy and Magnolia Heights figure to be the favorites. He said his team figures to challenge with Washington, Oak Hill Academy, and Starkville Academy for the right to advance.
"If we can shoot around 330, I think that''s about as good as we can do," Lott said. "If we play over our head, we may throw in a 322 or a 325. Four 80s is 320. I know Cade can shoot below 80. I know Will can shoot below 80. An 82 is about what I expect from Bryce, our No. 3. For that fourth score, between Jase, Hunter Brown, and Mark Adams, I would like to see them shoot good scores."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.