Although the Tyrone golf team lost one of the most talented players in the district in Andrew Ferguson to graduation, there is still plenty to look forward to for the 2019 season.
And they will also be doing it with a new head coach as Michael Funicelli takes over the golf job for Greg Ferguson, who certainly didn’t leave the cupboard bare for the Golden Eagles.
Tyrone will have seven seniors and two juniors returning to the team, which went 17-1 and were Mountain League champions last season.
“We have had five clinics over the summer with a very strong participation by our team members,” said Funicelli. “Thus far, they have embraced the competition and responded quite positively. I am excited to see how our golfers grow throughout the season with more practice.”
But first things first for Tyrone are figuring out how to replace Andrew Ferguson, who was a qualifier for the state tournament last year.
“Having to replace Andrew Ferguson is nearly impossible, but we are looking for someone to step up and take over the No. 1 spot,” Funicelli said. “We have a very strong core of four golfers, so we need a few golfers to step up and earn their spot in the Top 6.”
A few players that could be the new No. 1 are any of the five letterwinners returning to the Golden Eagles in seniors Trey Kyle, Brent McNeel, and Chris Wilkins, and juniors Jacob Taylor and Wade Hendrickson.
One of the possible choices is Taylor, who missed reaching the Western Regional by one shot after carding an 83 in the District 6 Class AA Tournament. Along with Ferguson, McNeel also played in the district tournament last season.
Along with the three seniors and two juniors that were letterwinners, Funicelli will also be looking to seniors Tyler Beckwith, Jeremy Byers, Tyler Hamp, and Cody Harpser to provide the leadership this season.
“With seven returning seniors and two returning juniors, we have a very experienced team that knows how to compete,” Funicelli said. “They have worked extremely hard this summer and will continue to do so throughout the season. We have several members who have played a great amount of tournament golf and are mentally tough because of that.”
Also out for the team are junior Hannah Long, sophomore Luke Brooks, and freshmen Cyrus Ahlert, Will Grot, Balin Hand, Cassidy Miksich, and Reese Wood.
With nine upperclassmen on the roster, Funicelli expects the team has the ability to win now. Because of the numbers, he has some lofty goals for the Golden Eagles this fall.
“We want to finish undefeated in the Mountain League,” he said. “We want to repeat as Mountain League champions, win a District 6 team championship, and have at least two members of the team make it through sectionals and districts to qualify for regionals or better.”
Tyrone starts the season today at the Happy Valley Invitational. Their first meet will be on Tuesday at Central Mountain.
Seniors: Tyler Beckwith, Jeremy Byers, Tyler Hamp, Cody Harpster, Trey Kyle, Brent McNeel, Chris Wilkins. Juniors: Wade Hendrickson, Hannah Long, Jacob Taylor. Sophomores: Luke Brooks. Freshmen: Cyrus Ahlert, Will Grot, Balin Hand, Cassidy Miksich, Reese Wood.