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Heading into the season, Chiefland High's golfers lobbied with coach Dave Mitchell to schedule more away matches. It wasn't that they didn't enjoy playing their home course at Chiefland Golf & Country Club, they just wanted to experience different courses after playing at home in five of their nine regular season matches in 2010.
As it turns out, the change in scenery has done wonders for the Indians' golf games.
"We've ended up playing some of the most difficult courses that we can play," Mitchell said. "I thought that if I can get these to keep playing tournaments on these really hard courses then at some point, it's going to make our home course that much easier and make our district not such of a daunting task."
The second-year coach figured correctly. After matches at Haile Plantation Golf & Country Club, Gainesville Country Club, the Mark Bostic Golf Course at the University of Florida and at the Country Club of Ocala, Chiefland is playing its best golf of the season, perhaps even the best in school history.
"We shot like a 500 at the Country Club of Ocala," Mitchell said. "It was just awful, but I think that course may be the toughest in the area."
So when the team returned to host P.K. Yonge at home on Sept. 27, they shot a combined score of 145, just one shot over par for the four-player, nine-hole match to easily beat the Blue Wave's 197. Alden Davis and Richard Ruth each had a 35, Logan Smith shot an even-par 36, and Justin Ivey checked in with a 39.
"I don't think a golf team from Chiefland High has ever shot that good of a score," Mitchell said. "So we're fired up."
Before the match, Mitchell penciled in a target score of 155 for the team to try to hit. When his players returned to turn in their scorecards, he couldn't believe it.
"That just blew my mind," Mitchell said. "It wasn't about us playing P.K. Yonge that day or about any of the teams we've played. For us, it's all about a number. If we can break 150, then that's where we need to be to compete in our district and possibly win it.
"They players are excited. Golf isn't such a daunting task for them anymore."
The Indians certainly are peaking at the right time. They have two regular season games (at home today against Gainesville High and Friday at Bucholz High) remaining before the district tournament on Oct. 17.