The stage is set: on November 12 at 1 p.m., the Fords tee up against Episcopal at Gulph Mills Golf Club for the first of the EA Day competitions.
The Fords look forward to competing in front of a large crowd and hope to secure an early 1-0 lead in this year’s grapple for “the sweater.”
Sixth Form Captains Trey Campbell, Chase Curran, and Bowen Deng lead a young yet talented squad against EA.
“It’s pretty even—honestly a toss up,” Deng said. “If we have a good day, we can beat them. If they have a good day, they can beat us.”
Campbell pointed to the Fords’ depth as a possible separator.
“I think we match up against EA pretty well,” Campbell said. “We have more depth on our team, and that will allow us to get an advantage. I think it is going to be close, but hopefully we have the edge.”
Twelve players from each team will participate in EA Day—more than most golf matches. The players will divide into six groups of two, and the lowest scores of the six groups will count.
Sixth Former Chase Curran said, “Since we are taking more players than normal for EA Day, and we think we have a deeper team than [they do], I think we match up well.”
The team’s youth excites the captains.
“As for underclassmen, we have three freshmen, one eighth grader, and one sophomore playing in EA Day,” Curran said. “One thing the seniors told me last year was to just have fun—because if you’re not having fun in golf it never goes well for anyone.”
Curran and the other captains are passing on this same advice to the next generation of Fords golf.
“EA Day is a great experience,” Deng said. “Our message has been to go out there and have fun playing the last match of the season.”
Enjoying the experience while still taking the competition seriously is a fine balance that the captains have shared with the younger players.
“You have to treat it like a tournament,” Campbell said, “because the way these tournaments are played—it is different from just messing around. I think what makes people great in school golf is being comfortable within that tournament situation. And I know it has been tough with COVID because people haven’t played tournaments in almost two years, but that’s what we’ve been pushing.”
Deng believes that much of golf is relying on the work one has already put in.
“The first thing is trusting what you’ve worked on in the range,” Deng said. “Even if I have a bad shot, I remind myself that it is one bad shot, and I can easily recover on the next shot.”
“It is common for everyone to get mentally behind in golf, but to be better than everyone else, one thing that Coach Berman has told us, and I have taken in is to take one shot at a time and everything that happens is in the past—you can’t get a shot back.”
Because golf is so mentally demanding, intangible factors of the game are often the difference between winning and losing.
Still, Curran remains poised under pressure.
“You have to treat every shot like it’s the same shot whether there are fifty people watching or zero people watching,” Curran said. “Also, you should have a good routine so that no matter who’s watching you are doing the same thing and you don’t let other things throw you off.”
Campbell has a similar mindset.
“In matches like EA Day, every shot really counts. So when I hit a bad shot, I think about the next one and how I can do well from there. And that helps me stay focused and not get frustrated as much,” Campbell said.
Everyone on the team, except for Campbell and Deng, have never played in EA Day.
“I’m really looking forward to playing in front of everyone–especially considering that it is senior year.”Bowen Deng ’22
Curran said, “Growing up, I’ve been to so many EA Day golf matches, and it looks really exciting, and there is a lot of energy. I’ve never played golf in front of that many people.”
Even for Deng and Campbell, this EA Day will be unique.
“I’ve only played in EA Day once before,” Deng said, “and I’m really looking forward to playing in front of everyone—especially considering that it is senior year.”
The anticipated crowd of Sixth Formers excites the captains.
“I played two years ago at Aronimink, but EA Day moved it to Saturday, so we didn’t have that crowd,” Campbell said. “I remember going to EA Day my freshman year. I was not playing, but the crowd was there with all the seniors. To see that—that’s what I wanted to play in front of. At Aronimink it didn’t work, and then COVID hit—so I’m really excited to have that crowd for the first time, and for my last EA Day.”