Kelsi Zik set to lead atop lineup for Plum golf team
In his time as the Plum boys golf coach, Brian Dunaway has always had at least one girl on the team and more often than not those girls are the mix of top performers on the team.
This season won’t be any different with Kelsi Zik projected to be at the top of the lineup for the Mustangs.
Shelby Shumaker was one of the top players last year, but she graduated, leaving Zik as the lone female representative on the team.
“The girls I’ve had have typically been some of my best players, so they’re going out against the other teams’ No. 1 or No. 2 players, and I’ve never seen it faze them,” Dunaway said. “Kelsi isn’t any different in that regard.”
Zik is eligible to play girls individual postseason events.
Plum has two other seniors in Bryce Lynch and Matt Carroll who will be fixtures among the team’s top three players. Plum had 10 players try out, which is a smaller number than in years past, according to Dunaway. Only one freshman and no sophomores tried out.
The Mustangs have several juniors who will compete for the final three spots in the six that play in a match. Five scores are counted, and the highest score is thrown out.
“I look forward to seeing some of the younger guys stepping up this year and seeing if they can solidify their spots on the team,” Dunaway said.
Plum plays the majority of its home matches at Willowbrook Country Club in Apollo, but it also hosts two matches at Oakmont Country Club. Riverview also has two matches at Oakmont. The two teams met for a nonsection match at Oakmont on Tuesday.
Getting to play twice at a historic venue that’s hosted a record nine U.S. Open events is an opportunity Dunaway doesn’t take for granted.
“I think once they graduate they realize what a privilege it is to play at a place like Oakmont,” Dunaway said. “Oakmont has always been really nice in hosting us, and we’re really appreciative of that.”
Plum plays in Section 4-AAA with Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional, Central Catholic, Gateway, Penn Hills and Woodland Hills. Fox Chapel returns 2016 Class AAA individual champion Gregor Meyer, Franklin Regional has one of the top amateur players in Pennsylvania in Palmer Jackson and Central Catholic has won the last two Class AAA team titles.
It’s a difficult section to navigate and Dunaway is focused on helping his players improve their game to shave strokes off scores from the start of the season to the end.
“We just want to everyone to get better every day and in every match,” Dunaway said. “That’s really my goal every year. If everyone gets a little better every week, I think we’ll be competitive. Obviously, we want to win the section and make the playoffs, but we’re in a very tough section to do that with Fox Chapel and Franklin Regional.”