Men's Golf NEWS

Beasley taking lead for PHCC

September 18, 2015

By HARRISON HAMLET Bulletin Sports Editor

A cursory glance at any PGA Tour leaderboard will reveal flags from across the globe and lately the same can be said of Patrick Henry Community College’s golf team, as several internationals have joined the Patriots in the last two years.

Through it all, however, Patrick County native Damian Beasley has been a consistent and homegrown presence on the team.

Now, after the graduation of fellow Patrick County native Tyler Shough and the loss of NJCAA All-American Daniel Rudolffson for one semester due to an eligibility issue, Beasley will be counted on for more than his calming influence and quick wit – he will have to produce, something head coach Robert Weinerth said should be no problem for the steady Beasley.

“Damian has really learned to manage his game and play with what he has that day,” Weinerth said. “He has to step it up this fall, then hopefully carry that into the spring. He manages his game much better than he used to and that’s a sign of a good golfer. Now he can hit it so-so and shoot 72 where before that was an 82.”

Beasley said that under Weinerth, he has seen his game grow in leaps and bounds as the program has rocketed to the top of the Region X ranks.

“I think the world of that man, he has done so much for me,” Beasley said of Weinerth. “I know coming into last fall, my first year, I was not even close to where I am now as a man and as a golfer. I thought I was good then, before I saw the college level up close. But now, with Robert helping me out, I’m good to go.”

A shorthanded Patriots roster leaves Weinerth counting on production from Beasley, Lawrence Howliston of Great Britain, Sam Elkingotn of Australia and Filip Ekenstrom of Sweden heading into an abbreviated fall season.

“We’re at a little bit of a disadvantage with only four players,” Weinerth said. “Some of the teams bring six guys and count the best four some bring five and count the best four; we’ve only got four and we have to count them all.”

Beasley agreed that only having four players this fall makes it tough on the team, but he said that it will be good experience heading into the spring season when qualifying for NJCAA nationals will be on the team’s mind for the second-straight season.

“We still want to win and last fall we won a couple of times,” Beasley recalled. “Then, in the spring, we won everything we played but two tournaments – one of those was the national championships – so we’re coming off a really good semester and we want to keep that going.”

Beasley picked up an individual win last season and hopes to add to his trophy collection this fall. But, he said that playing in the national championships was a wake-up call for the Patriots.

“I know I’ve competed with the best,” Beasley said of the team’s 12th-place finish nationally. “Going into it we thought we were something; it was sort of a wake-up call and we needed that.”

Beasley said that over the last year he has seen his game grow in leaps and bounds, something he said is part physical and part mental.

“I would say I’ve gained a lot more distance. I came into the fall hitting it shorter but I’ve always hit it in play. Now, I’ve gotten my distance up and I still am able to keep it in play,” Beasley said. “Mentally, it’s always different having to go and hit shots to suit the course. I grew up playing Gordon Trent and it’s a lot of driver-wedges for me, so just being able to hit your five iron every once in a while, mixing up club selection, it’s a big difference.”

Weinerth agreed that Beasley’s ability to fit his game to the week’s course has grown over the last year and will be important moving forward.

“We work a lot on that. Damian was hitting a lot of driver-wedges, now it’s driver-5-iron or driver-hybrid and you have to be able to shape shots left and right. He never had to do that before,” Weinerth said. “He hit the ball well but we played some golf courses that were new for him and he saw that there is a difference between hitting a wedge and hitting a 4-iron into these greens. Now he’s fully capable of doing that.”

Along with being capable on the golf course, Weinerth said that Beasley’s greatest strength might be his personality and ability to lead the Patriots in a humble manner.

“He is so well-liked, that’s the real bonus. He isn’t the one that runs for class president, but he could win. He is the glue that holds everybody together. These kids come from different parts of the world and that southern accent of his just melts them all together,” Weinerth said. “He is so honest and genuine and I think that helps him so much in life. You can’t help but like him and he makes the long bus-trips so much more fun for everyone.”

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