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May 7, 2014

Eisenhower golf among county’s best

Eagles reloading after state finals run last season

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

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Eisenhower golf among county’s best
Eisenhower senior Connor Jones follows through on a tee shot during the Macomb County Golf Championship on April 28 at Timberwood Golf Course. Jones shot an 80 at the county tournament.

RAY TOWNSHIP — Despite graduating three players from its state finals lineup a year ago, Utica Eisenhower’s golf program has remained near the top of Macomb County this spring.

After a second-place finish at the Evans-Gill Invitational, in which Eisenhower senior Connor Jones took medalist honors by shooting a 76, the Eagles finished in fifth place at the Macomb County championship tournament at Timberwood Golf Course on April 28.

Jones joins junior Jack Hebert as the two returning players from last year’s squad. Senior Eric Dulinsky golfed on the varsity team last year, while sophomore Kyle Tinnion and senior Mike Symanski are providing new depth this season.

“There’s a lot of talent throughout the whole team. They’re pushing each other and battling for spots,” Eisenhower coach Ryan deCardenas said. “There’s a lot of guys that want to be in that top five or six spots, and it makes it tough for each other because they’re battling each other to try to get more experience in playing some tournaments.”

Jones has been one of the county’s top golfers throughout his career at Eisenhower, and deCardenas explained that Jones’ work ethic has kept him in that position.

“His work ethic is like no other. Definitely in the offseason, you can tell that he puts in a lot of time, and it shows on the course when he comes out and he’s ready. Throughout the years, he’s obviously demonstrated a lot better course management and gotten better at that. He’s a good player. He might have a difficult round, but he stays in there and doesn’t give up. He grinds through it, no matter what.

After playing alongside his older brother, Marc, last year, Hebert is now making his own mark on the program. Part of Hebert’s success is his even-keel but friendly personality, deCardenas explained.

“Jack’s demeanor on the course is even-keel, and same thing with Eric (Dulinsky). You can tell they don’t get frustrated, and even if they might get frustrated, you can’t see it in their body language,” deCardenas said. “Jack has a great personality, no question about it. A lot of the guys around the area play against him, and they enjoy having a foursome with him.”

In addition to staying unflappable on the course, Hebert and Dulinsky also helped lead the team through winter workouts to prepare for this season.

“They definitely put the time in during the offseason, through January and February, with these guys at the dome two or three times a week hitting, swinging and doing the right things,” deCardenas said.

“They want to be there; they have that taste for where they were at last year, and they want to be back again.”

Like every team in southeast Michigan this spring, Eisenhower has had to battle very poor weather conditions at nearly every match. Although that has not helped scoring, deCardenas knows it’s the same for each team, so it’s been a matter of which team can focus better.

“It’s tough for everybody. That’s what we keep talking about on the way to each match — we just talk about how it’s no different for anybody else, as far as playing through adversity. It’s something we can’t change, so the guys continue to say it’s cold, but it is what it is, and we’re going to play through it and we’ll do the best we can. Being prepared that it could rain, you need to have your rain gear and be ready to go. So just that awareness is how we’re combating it.”

At press time, Eisenhower was 2-0 in MAC Red matches. The Eagles will begin their postseason run by hosting a district tournament on May 22 at Cherry Creek Golf Course.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Thomas Franz at tfranz@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040.