A deep group of seniors will carry the fortunes of the 2017 Mid-County boys golf team.

A deep group of seniors will carry the fortunes of the 2017 Mid-County boys golf team.

The Galva-ROWVA co-op opened the season with a dual meet loss at Ridgewood Monday, but veteran coach Mike Landis sees better days ahead for this year’s Cougars.

“This group of seniors has steadily improved during their high school golf careers, and now they have reached the point where they can compete with most teams in the area,” Landis said.

Monday’s varsity lineup featured seniors in the first five positions — Mason Kaiser, Matt Graves, Cale Attaway, Carey Meyer and Tanner Klein. Kaiser was a medal winner in the Lincoln Trail Conference tourney as a junior, and along with Graves, narrowly missed qualifying for sectional competition as individuals last season.

“Mason and Matt are our leaders. We’ll count on those two scores every night out,” Landis said. “Both are positioned to have big senior seasons.”

Also battling for top-six varsity spots are senior Josh Jeffries; juniors Rian Mott, Ben Murdock, Sumner Strom, Trent Shepherd and Shivam Patel; sophomores Tristan Rogers and Trey Rogers; and freshman Kaden Willer.

“While we’re experienced at the top of the varsity roster, it doesn’t mean one of the underclassmen can’t earn a spot with some strong play early in the season,” Landis said.

Mott was a varsity counter in the opening at Ridgewood, and Tristan Rogers posted the team’s top JV score with 54 and Willer was a stroke back at 55 in his high school golf debut.

The Cougars finished 10-8 on the dual meet season last year and third in the LTC tourney.

“The keys for us this year will be playing well away from Oak Run and having one or two players stepping up to complement our seniors,” Landis said. “We’re comfortable and confident on our home course, and need to take that confidence with us to different golf courses.”

The Cougars host the LTC tourney Sept. 27 at Oak Run, and also play 18-hole varsity Saturday meets at Kewanee (Sept. 9), Riverdale (Sept. 16) and Monmouth (Sept. 23).

“Our schedule is road heavy early, but we’ll be at Oak Run a lot in September,” Landis said.”The lineup will sort itself out in the first couple of weeks and we’ll be ready to play our best golf come mid-September and the postseason in October.”