Rochester High golf coach Paul Marti has some lofty praise for his current crop of Falcons.
“With the overall depth, this is one of the best teams I’ve had in some time,” Marti said, and that’s a great compliment, considering he’s in his 22nd year of coaching golf.
Rochester returns all of its starters last season, which saw the squad finish third in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division and qualify for a Division 1 regional.
The third-place finish is a bit deceiving, considering the Falcons won the final Red Division tournament, but the slow start to the year held its final standing back.
Marti said starting slow has been an issue in the past. Rochester has won the final Red tournament the last two seasons but not the overall championship.
“We’ve consistently started the last four or five years weak and then improve throughout the season, so we’re trying to not put ourselves in a hole,” he said.
Marti believes experience and depth could prove the difference this time around.
“I’m really excited with everyone returning. We were close last year, and we have a real solid team,” he said. “This is the best opportunity the Falcons have had in quite a few years.”
Rochester’s No. 1 player is sophomore Michael Busse. Last season, he missed qualifying for the state final as an individual by one stroke.
“We’re very solid in the top five or six players, and Busse — he’s a very reliable young man,” Marti said. “Then we have three seniors behind him that, on any given day, can shoot in the low 70s.”
Marti said that his team is focusing on the short game “more than ever before” in hopes of dropping more strokes from last season.
“We realized at the end of last year, when you count the strokes, that’s where we could improve the most,” he said.
The Falcons missed qualifying as a team for the state final by five strokes a year ago. Marti added that the Falcons aren’t taking anything for granted.
“All you need is a couple of kids to have an off day and the season is done,” he said. “I’m not concerned about them being complacent. They’re really a great group of kids and seniors. I’m just really hoping they have the opportunity to play in the state final. If we play the way we’re capable, we will.”
Catch Rochester in the Red tournament April 14 on the campus of Oakland University. Contact the host school for tee times.