FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The Class AA-A defending champion Fairmont Senior Polar Bear golf team was back out on the greens at the Fairmont Field club on Monday, using one of its flex days ahead of the 2020 season.
Luke Corley’s club captured the program’s first state title in October. This is after the Polar Bears had been a seven-time runner-up, including back-to-back years in 2016 and 2017.
But this year they enter the first event of the season — scheduled for August 18 — with the targets on their backs.
“I told the guys coming in that we’re the champs this year and we have to defend, so we have to put the work in. Because, we lost Clark (Craig) and Gannon (Satterfield) last year and that was a huge piece to the puzzle,” said Corley. “We’ve got Zach Morgan back ready to lead this year.
“We’re kind of starting over again, but I like what I see so far.”
Corley likes how the practice dates have aligned for his team, too.
“Since our practices have been later on in the year, it kind of actually benefits us with the three-week period being later, and then we have our three flex days, which we’re utilizing right now,” said Corley. “(We) kind of roll right into the season instead of having to take the whole month of July off, and then go and have one practice and go right into it. So, this just kind of benefits us being able to lead right up to the season.”
He also likes how dates have worked out in relation to high school practices and the Callaway Junior Tour, saying that in normal summers players will have to miss a summer practice or two to play on the tour. This year, that hasn’t been the case.
The Polar Bears will go into this season without the talent of Clark Craig and Gannon Satterfield, both of whom graduated after leading FSHS to a title in their last year on the high school circuit. Corley’s group will be led by senior Zach Morgan.
Corley admitted it will be hard to replace his two seniors from last year, but is hopeful that with Morgan having played with those two for nearly three years that he’ll be able to take everything he’s learned and apply it this season.
The focus during the flex days for the Polar Bears has been the basics, especially in players’ short game. The hope is that hammering that now will result in more pars — or better — once the season gets started.