Ferndale High senior Owen Carroll remembers getting the call as a freshman.
At the time, he believed he had qualified as an individual to the regional level of the state golf tournament, winning in a playoff to secure the final spot in the field at his district.
Then the voice on the other end of the line told him that there had been a scoring error and, in fact, he hadn’t made it.
Now, in his final season with the Eagles, Carroll has no intention of leaving it up to a playoff.
Carroll has led the Eagles to a 2-1 mark in the Oakland Activities Association Gold Division, shooting sub-80 scores in the process.
“It feels good coming out here confident with the guys shooting low scores,” he said. “We’re having a good season, for sure.”
Carroll is the lone senior on the roster.
Coach Dave Garlow said he wasn’t sure how this team would compete with so many new faces, but he’s happy with what he’s seen so far.
“We have a relatively inexperienced team. You’re never sure (what you’re going to get) from one year to the next,” he said.
Garlow also has a pleasant surprise in the form of freshman Madeline Pippel, the only girl on the team.
“I think she’s real strong off the tee. She has a nice, fluid swing off the tee and can drive it a good ways,” Garlow said. “For a young player, she’s real impressive. She has a tenacity about her that I really enjoy, and I think it serves her well. She’s also a smart player. Those things all help.”
“It’s a really special thing,” Carroll added. “One, because she’s consistently beating a lot of people in the league, and two, she has a good outlook on golf.”
Carroll has also shared his outlook with teammates, according to Garlow.
“He’s done a real good job with that, in terms of showing them the ropes,” the coach said.
Carroll said his advice to the team is to play their games and relax.
“The one thing that I focused on as a freshman was playing easy, playing my game,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to kill the ball, and if you have a bad hole, forget about it. Those are things I still focus on.”