A year ago, Dominick Francks and Pat Nugent were two promising Olympia High School golfers with modest résumés.
But not this season. Now, they’re the ones to beat.
After exceptional offseasons, where both won prestigious tournaments, they come into the season with great expectations.
Last summer, Francks won the Washington Junior Golf Association state championship and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association Junior Amateur. Nugent won the men’s club championship at the Tumwater Valley Golf Course.
“They’re both playing with confidence,” Olympia coach Skip Fabritius said. “It’s a matter of them being more seasoned players.”
With Francks’ and Nugent’s breakout summers, the Bears have quality and quantity. Fabritius said his team’s goal is to “toss out a 30 (front or back nine) and a 70 (round)” in a dual meet, where the team’s top five scores count. “We’re solid one through six,” Fabritius said.
Olympia’s long-term goal is to go through the season undefeated and to place in the top five at state. But to keep his team focused, Fabritius made a more immediate goal.
“Our theme is, ‘One shot,’ ” Fabritius said. “Our goal is to place in the top three, top five at state. But we don’t want to forget about the approach shot to get us there. So, it’s one shot at a time.”
Francks, Nugent and Kellen McCauley qualified for state last year, but none of them advanced to the second day of the tournament. McCauley, a junior, won a sudden-death playoff at district last year to reach state.
“Kellen made some big pressure shots in that playoff,” Fabritius said. “He looked like he knew exactly what he was doing.”
Neither Francks nor Nugent blast long tee shots, but both play a controlled game.
“Dom is an all-around player,” Fabritius said. “He’s not exceptionally long with his game. But he has such a mastery of his swing. He’s got a smart, all-around game.”
Nugent doesn’t get rattled by a bad shot.
“Pat might struggle off the tee a little bit, and he’ll just hit a better iron shot,” Fabritius said. “Both know how to score when they’re not having a good day.”
After beating Timberline in its season opener, Olympia took one step toward its goal of finishing undefeated. In that match, Francks shot a 34, Nugent had a 36, Alec McKrill was at 37, Kyle Thies had a 38 and McCauley shot a 44, six strokes off his average. Freshman Brendan McCauley and sophomore Joel Liedes also will be playing for a varsity spot throughout the season.
The Bears next play crosstown rival Capital for the first time in four years on Thursday at the Tumwater Valley.
“We’re excited about it,” Fabritius said.
Gail Wood: 360-754-5443 firstname.lastname@example.org