Junior duo expected to lead golf team

Junior golfer Bryan Wise poses for a photo. Photo by Madeleine Caraluzzi.

Junior golfer Bryan Wise poses for a photo. Photo by Madeleine Caraluzzi.

21 at the Chapman golf team’s practice, junior Bryan Wise sank a 30-foot putt to defeat his teammate, junior Chuck Pedone.

Upon seeing the putt go in, Wise celebrated by fist pumping like Tiger Woods and jumping on top of a lying down Pedone, who was shocked and disappointed at the defeat.

The two went to high school together at Granite Bay High School in Northern California, where they won a state championship in 2013.

Wise said that he and Pedone have known each other since playing tee-ball together 16 years ago. He also added that having Pedone as a teammate, both in high school and in college, has helped elevate his game.

“Whenever we’re at the golf course we are always making up some type of competition and try our best to beat each other,” Wise said. “Because of that, we always get really into it and I think it helps us a lot to prepare for pressure situations.”

Pedone added that their competitive relationship stems back to high school, and both of their desires to win.

“When we are hanging out off the course we tend be very sarcastic and not too serious, but when we get on the course there is this subconscious light switch in both of us that says, ‘I want to win,’” he said.

The two are both off to a strong start to the 2016 spring season. In the team’s first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament, Wise finished second, shooting a low-round score of 75 on the first day and 79 on the second day, and Pedone tied for 26th, shooting an 87 and 81, respectively.

As a team, the Panthers finished in fifth place at the Champions Course of Tukwet Canyon Golf Course in Beaumont at the beginning of February, with Wise and Pedone leading the way despite 20 to 25 mph winds.

Chapman Head Coach Ming Lao thinks that the relationship the two have developed is good because of their different personalities.

“Bryan is a rock. He’s an accounting major, really steady, doesn’t get too emotional,” Lao said. “Chuck, on the other hand, is a very emotional guy, so they kind of hold each other accountable. They need each other in that sense.”

Although the pair won a state championship in high school, simply having the desire to win and hard work doesn’t always lead to success, something the pair have had to learn the hard way.

Chapman has failed to make it to the national tournament since joining the conference in 2012, something that Wise, Pedone and Lao have all set as a goal for this season.

“As a coach, I think we’re good enough to win everywhere we go,” Lao said. “Realistically though, if we can finish in the top-three every tournament and Bryan and Chuck finish in the top-10, then that bodes well for nationals.”

While it may be tough, Wise thinks that his and Pedone’s high school championship experience will help them this season.

“At Chapman we are in a very similar situation as high school,” he said. “We are the underdog team in most conference tournaments, but I know we have the talent on the team to pull off some upsets. So for me and Chuck to have that experience in our back pocket and be able to feed off that will help a lot when it comes to crunch time in our tournaments here.”

Chapman’s next conference tournament begins on April 9 in Anaheim Hills. The top-two conference teams at the end of the season get automatic bids to the national tournament, taking place in Rochester, New York on May 10 to 13.

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