OSWEGO — The Oswego varsity golf team began its 2020 campaign a little later than usual, and despite the pandemic, the masks, the repeated temperature checks and the cold weather, the Bucs have shown no signs of slowing down.
Recently, Oswego coach Dan Rose took his top seven golfers (based on season overall stroke average) to the par-71 Green Lakes State Park Golf Course in Fayetteville for an 18-hole battle with the other four teams in the Empire Division of the Salt City Athletic Conference.
The weather was outstanding and the course was in prime condition. Oswego made the most of its opportunity, winning the Empire Tournament crown with a score of 393. Second-place finisher Jamesville-DeWitt recorded a score of 407.
Designed by the famed Robert Trent Jones in 1936, Green Lakes State Park offers a challenging but fair test of golf to the average player, providing many scoring opportunities contingent on well-placed tee shots and accurate iron play. Considerably shorter than the average course by today’s standard (Green Lakes measures in at just over 6,200 yards from the back tees), RTJ ensured that each player, no matter their skill level, would be equally tested at the end of each hole.
“I compare the green complexes of a Robert Trent Jones golf course to one of those maze ball labyrinth games you can hold in your hand,” said Rose, “the ones with the metal ball that rolls and rolls and works its way toward the finish line. Judging the speed and direction of putts on a Jones green is difficult, to say the least. One must be incredibly precise with speed and direction or risk a 3 or 4 putt.”
The Buccaneers held their own on the diabolical greens at the tournament, putting their way to the top with that 393 total.
Senior Ryan Bartlett’s 3-over-par score of 74 was not only tops on the team, it was tops in the entire 30-man field. Bartlett, whose 2020 season has been a bit up and down, gave credit after the round to a steady putter and an incredible back-to-back-to-back birdie finish.
“Three in a row is a nice way to end a round of golf,” said Rose.
With two more birdies tacked on earlier in the round, Bartlett’s total of five on the day was impressive by any golfing standards.
Also playing well for Oswego was sophomore starter Jack Hall, whose round of 77 put him in a tie for second place among the 30 players. Like most of the golfers who played well at the tourney, Hall highlighted the putter as being integral to his success. “The greens were a perfect speed and my ball was rolling true to the line,” he said after the round.
This was Hall’s career-best performance in a high school tournament situation, Rose noted.
Oswego’s Mike Douglas also broke 80 on Wednesday, shooting a fine round of 79 at Green Lakes. Douglas gave the ceremonial fist pump on the par-5 18th hole after his six-foot bogey putt rattled home.
Also scoring for the Bucs were Neil Roman (81) and Jack O’Leary (82). Junior Lukas Cady shot an 82, and eighth-grader Kevin Waters had an 86.
Oswego is scheduled to host Auburn on Monday as the Bucs are striving to claim the overall league title.