Ryan Keyes was visibly nervous Tuesday afternoon when he stepped up to the tee on the first hole at Needham Golf Club — so much so that Wellesley coach Ken Bateman pulled him aside for a few words of encouragement.
“I told him, ‘Listen man, you’re here for a reason,’” recalled Bateman. “'You’re here because you’re a great golfer, and I completely believe in you.'”
Whatever nerves lingered after the pep talk evaporated after Keyes’s opening drive, a blast down the center of the fairway.
The freshman went on to shoot a team-best 2-over-par 38 to power the Raiders to a 102-99 Bay State Conference victory over Needham in their season opener.
Keyes wasn’t the only nervous golfer on the course. He’s one of a number of underclassmen at Wellesley who had not yet played a competitive match at the high school level. And the unique nature of this fall season contributed to the electric atmosphere.
“I think all the boys were just so excited to play a real match and to finally have a season start that everyone was nervous, but at the same time just amped up,” Bateman said.
Because of the pandemic, what is now the Fall I season was not approved until late August. Bateman tried to maintain regular contact with his golfers via email, making sure every player was working on his game. In addition, the Raiders are minus Michael Thorbjornsen, a 2019 Globe All-Scholastic who is now a freshman at Stanford.
But Bateman is quick to remind that golf at this level is still a team sport.
“The boys all are trying to play as well as [Thorbjornsen] did, and I think they always have done that,” said the coach. “We have a lot of young talent . . . with some of these freshmen, we have a shot at having a complete team in a couple of years.”
In the continuation of the home-and-home series, Wellesley will host Needham on Thursday at Nehoiden Golf Club.
Acton-Boxborough 87, Newton South 80 — Junior Andrew Welch carded a 35 with three birdies as the Colonials prevailed in the Dual County League match at Quail Ridge Golf Course. Maddie Smith had a 38 for South.
Bishop Feehan 218, Arlington Catholic 182 — Sophomore Chad Correia recorded three birdies in an even-par 36 performance to lead the Shamrocks (2-1) to the Catholic Central win at Heather Hill Country Club.
Bridgewater-Raynham 98, Durfee 72 — Justin Peters’s match-best 38 earned him 26 points in the Southeast Conference at Fall River Country Club.
Brockton 86, Dartmouth 80 — Junior Owen Talbot (1-under-par, 28 points) led the Boxers to the Southeast Conference victory at D.W. Field Golf Course.
Hamilton-Wenham 133, Manchester Essex 130 — Andrew Winch netted 27 points as the medalist for the Generals (1-0) at Essex County Club.
Hingham 242, Silver Lake 272 — Luke McDonald (even-par 36) and Jake Wilson (38) led the Harbormen to the Patriot League win.
Holliston 275, Norton 281 — The Panthers (1-2) were led in their Tri-Valley League win by medalist Louie Denison, who shot a 3-over-par 39 at TPC Boston.
Norwood 257, Millis 270 — Senior captain Jared Shea paced the Mustangs (1-0) with a 1-over-par 37 in the Tri-Valley League win at Norwood Country Club.
Plymouth South 261, Pembroke 274 — Nolan Skaggs was the medalist for the Panthers (2-0) with a 1-over-par 37 at Atlantic Country Club.
Reading 39, Lexington 33 — Sophomore Maxx Owens shot a 1-over-par 37 to lift the host Rockets (1-0) at Meadow Brook Golf Club.
Rockport 132, Amesbury 81 — Jake Engle (28 points), Jack Cahill (26), and Will Cahill (24) led the Vikings to the Cape Ann win at Rockport Golf Club.
St. John Paul II 3.5, Monomoy 2.5 — Jack Carstensen’s 1-over-par 36 led the way for the Lions (2-0) at Wianno Golf Club.
St. John’s (Shrewsbury) 224, BC High 229 — Sean Tenney (35) and Ray Dennehy (36) paced the Pioneers (2-0) to the Catholic Conference victory at Wachusett Country Club. Devon Regan of Belmont paced BC High with a 2-under 35.
St. John’s Prep 217, Catholic Memorial 258 — Brendan O’Holleran, Emmet Phelan, and Connor Remley carded 1-under-par 35s at The Meadows in Peabody in the Catholic Conference win for the Eagles.
Scituate 257, Hanover 258 — The visiting Sailors (2-0) earned the victory on a tiebreaker after the completion of the round resulted in a 257-257 deadlock.
Shawsheen 145, Essex Tech 133 — Senior Aiden Sullivan (35) paced the Rams to the Commonwealth Athletic Conference win.
Wakefield 47, Stoneham 34 — Oliver Miller fired an even-par 36 in the Middlesex League win at Bear Hill Golf Club in Stoneham.
Watertown 38, Wilmington 34 — Freshman Mason Poillucci won his match 8-1 to lift the Raiders (2-0) at Oakley Country Club.
West Bridgewater 72, New Bedford 62 — Sophomore Tyler Bisbee (20 points), senior Brady Roderick (16), and junior Zach Bellody (16) carried the hosts to the win at West Bridgewater Country Club.
Weston 115, Wayland 71 — Sophomore J.P. Noone shot even-par 34 for 19 points for the Wildcats at Wayland Country Club.
Winchester 57.5, Woburn 14.5 — Freshman Carson Muse fired a 1-under-par 34 with two birdies for the Sachems in the Middlesex League win at Woburn Country Club.
Xaverian 224, Malden Catholic 278 — Junior Joe Lenane carded a 2-under-par 34 at Brookmeadow CC in Canton to propel the Hawks to the Catholic Conference win.