BREWSTER – It’s not often that a senior high school athlete would turn to a freshman for inspiration or guidance. However, there aren’t too many freshmen with the athletic ability of Jack Martin.
Martin, a Yarmouth resident, has been a standout for the Nauset golf team this fall despite being just one of two freshmen on this year’s squad. While he has played an integral part in the team’s 7-3 record, Martin’s impact on the Warriors extends far beyond his impressive scores.
The freshman’s presence has helped improve his teammates’ game too, even for Cooper Guiliano, an Orleans resident who is a senior and leader for Nauset.
“Honestly, it kind of sounds weird seeing I’m 18 and he’s 14, but playing with him this year has influenced me to play smarter because he’s always hitting irons off the tee,” Guiliano said when asked about Martin. “He helps me and if I didn’t have him, I’d probably be shooting a couple strokes higher.”
The pair were representing the Warriors on Sunday afternoon at the Cape Cod National Golf Club High School Invitational in Brewster. Aside from Colin Spencer, a senior at Mashpee High, Guiliano and Martin were the only other players from the Cape.
The tournament featured a who’s who of the state’s best players — Boston College High School, Concord-Carlisle, Lincoln-Sudbury, St. John’s Shrewsbury, St. John’s Prep, Westford Academy, Weston, Winchester and Xaverian comprised the invitational’s field of teams, while Guiliano and Martin were among the group of nine players invited to compete as individuals.
St. John’s Shrewsbury was the team champion, while Longmeadow sophomore Ryan Downes took home the individual title.
“It’s a good competition, so I’m really excited,” Martin said. “I shot a 78, which wasn’t horrible for me. The frontside [of the course] was very scoreable, but the backside was very tricky. You had to place your shots very well.”
Guiliano carded an 8-over-par 80. The senior wasn’t too disappointed with his performance and noted that although he had the luxury of being familiar with CCN, the course provides a challenge for even the most experienced players.
“I actually work here during the summer, so I’ve probably played here eight or nine times, something like that,” Guiliano said. “I was playing in a lot of tournaments this summer and I wasn’t working that much. I walked the course with Jack yesterday just to show him it and it was the first time I had been here in probably two months. I was a little comfortable today, but not as much as I would’ve liked to be.”
Guiliano wasn’t surprised to see Martin perform well. The senior noted Martin is one of the better young golfers he has seen play, and that pool includes Longmeadow’s Downes, who clinched the title by defeating Haverhill senior Aiden Azevedo in a four-hole playoff after they shot matching 70s during their rounds.
“I have seen Ryan Downes play and he’s amazing, but [Martin] is one of the most promising players I’ve seen on the Cape,” Guiliano said. “He’s been a 36.5-37 average on nine holes, he’s been under par a couple times and I think his worst score has been 39 in a nine-hole match.”
The quiet and humble Martin said he’s felt comfortable with the Warriors, and he attributed part of his success to having the opportunity to play golf nearly every day.
“The upperclassmen treat me well, so that’s been nice. They are a lot of fun,” the freshman said. “Playing five days a week really helps my game.”
Martin did admit he had some reservations ahead of Sunday’s tournament.
“I was a little nervous because I didn’t know too many kids here,” he said, noting that his nerves were cooled after nearly burying an approach shot from 116 yards out late in the front nine.
“I put one to about a foot [of the hole] on No. 7 with a wedge,” Martin said. “That was probably my best shot of the day.”
Although Martin and Guiliano weren’t able to earn a victory Sunday, Nauset’s top golf pairing certainly represented the Warriors well. They also gained valuable experience playing with some of the best players in the state.
That experience could come in handy in a couple weeks during the state’s sectional tournament. After being forced to miss the postseason last fall due to a COVID-19 close contact initiated by another team, Guiliano said he and his teammates are eager to get back into the sectionals.
“I got to play in states and sectionals as a freshman and sophomore and loved it – so, I’m really looking forward to having the opportunity to play in that again,” he said.
Email Brad Joyal at email@example.com.