Thomas Jefferson High School golf brought out the brooms with both the boys and girls team beating Kent-Meridian on Sept. 18 at Riverbend Golf Complex.
The Raiders will have an interesting season to say the least. On the girls side, their team went from seven players last year to a total of two players this season. On the boys side, they have two golfers who are eyeing the state tournament — and they’re twins.
We’ll start with the two girls for Thomas Jefferson. Senior Aashiyana Singh and sophomore Adrianna Le are the team in red and gold.
“When we started I was a little rusty. I was trying to find my swing and I think I found it,” Singh said.
It’s a small team, and really, it could be explained as a partnership or something different.
“Even though we have a small team with the two of us, I feel like we have a closer bond,” said Singh. “They (the coaches) are really helpful, they’re always there for us and helping and working with us to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Singh had her best round of her career against the Kent-Meridian Royals, scoring 10 points in the 17-4 win.
“In general I felt really good today. I felt like I started off strong, and practice before the match was pretty strong and easy. I was like ‘I think I got this,’” Singh said.
She parred the final hole of her round, boosting her to the highest scoring player on either side.
“When I got the putt in, I was like ‘Oh I’m set, I’m good.’ It was one of my best holes of the year,” she said.
Girls golf participation at TJ is at an all-time low while under Head Coach Steve Turcotte. Going into this season, the Raiders had six girls sign up, but only two competing. Singh is doing her part to try and get girls out playing.
“Honestly, I’ve tried (to get girls involved). I’ve reached out and talked to people about how it’s a sport you get to try and in high school it’s free. I’m like, ‘Hey it’s a nice experience, it’s calm and it’s not too hard, physically speaking,’” Singh said.
On the boys side, the Bao brothers are on another level. Against Kent-Meridian they both led their team on the scorecard.
Aiden Bao shot a 40 while his brother Brandon Bao shot a 38: “I don’t like it, but I’m all right with it … I hit a lot of good shots so I’m happy with that,” Aiden said.
“I felt pretty good on the first six holes, went on a little bogey train. I started off with a birdy so that set the tone,” Brandon said.
The two were paired up together against the Royals in the first group of players and helped each other out along the way.
“I think when I’m playing with Brandon I’m a lot more focused. I want to beat him most of the time … We’re pretty equal in terms of skill. We help each other out on the course I think,” Aiden said.
“We have friendly jokes back and forth,” Brandon said.
Their seasons have been pretty good by an average golfer’s standards, but for them, they are looking to be great: “I see that our team has improved a lot since last season, which I’m really happy with,” Aiden Bao said.
The Raider boys team has a good mix of youth and experience, and the Bao brothers are helping out those young players.
“I think the seniors and upperclassmen have kind of just been watching out for them and guiding them in the right way. We like just having fun with them and making them feel like a part of us. The dynamic is really good,” Brandon Bao said.
Brandon Bao has gone to state the first two years in high school and is looking to make it a third straight year. But he hasn’t made the final day either of the two tournaments before. For him the key is the winter.
“It’s really about keeping it up in winter. Going out to the range and course isn’t that great or it’s running. It’s kind of just a grind really,” Brandon said.
Aiden made state his freshman year, but couldn’t make it last season. This year his eye is back on the big dance: “I just have to keep up with practice. The game feels pretty solid right now. I just have to be able to apply it to the matches and rounds.”