Piedmont High School’s boys golf team has started out the season well, winning three of its first four matches. The Highlanders should have a talented team this year, with a core group of four seniors.
“They’re talented,” coach Howard Oliver said. “I don’t like throwing that word around. As far as raw talent, they have that. They’ll be as good as they want to be.”
Max Schleuning leads the group of seniors and should be the low-scorer on the team most matches.
“(He’s) everything that you want in a team leader,” Oliver said. “He will generally be the low scorer by a few shots. That speaks to what he does outside of the school year. He’ll play in tournaments all summer. You throw it out in front of him, he’ll go chase it.”
Oliver added that Schleuning is an all-round player.
“This is a sport where the ball is on the ground,” Oliver said. “Great short game, great touch. Kind of a scientist at heart. Unafraid to try something new. And plays and practices.”
Junior Bodhi Bloemker will compete for the No. 2 slot.
“He’s more of your modern player, hits it a mile,” Oliver said. “Makes the holes that much shorter. Doesn’t have to work as hard. Starting to play in tournaments outside of school.”
Freshman Patrick Brayer will battle for that second spot on the ladder. Oliver said Brayer has talent and a good work ethic.
“I think he has put a lot of time into his game,” Oliver said. “I don’t need a scorecard to tell how good a player you are. He passes the eye test. He’s indicative of what’s coming in the pipeline. He’s the present but he will definitely be the future of the team. Good all-around game.”
Seniors Owen Grappando and Evan Manolis are new to the golf team, joining their soccer teammate Schleuning. Both need some work, according to Oliver, but should have bright futures.
“It translates,” Oliver said. “The better the athlete, the easier the transition.”
Juniors Nate Hart and Romi Bhatia are both back from last year.
“It’s a good group of kids,” Oliver said. “They understand what their role is. Compete. Play by the rules. Knowing that I can only push them as hard as they want to be push.
“It’s easier in other team sports because each score relies on a teammate.”
Golf, Oliver concluded, does not.
The team has played in four matches over two competitions. Piedmont beat San Leandro and Encinal, lost to Alameda, and had a walkover against Tennyson.