Junior Joey Garvey (left) and senior Marc Kaplan are co-captains for the Riverside-Brookfield boys golf team. (Bill Stone/Contributor)

Back in 2019, senior Marc Kaplan enjoyed starting as a frosh-soph player for the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys golf team.

His outlook changed quickly after he was promoted to varsity in mid-season.

“At the beginning of my freshman year, I liked golf a lot but I wasn’t really good at being competitive about it. Now if I’m having a bad hole, I can stop myself and reset, keep going and not just blow the entire round, have a few more good holes instead,” Kaplan said.

As co-captains, Kaplan and junior Joey Garvey are hoping experience pays dividends for the Bulldogs as the postseason starts with the IHSA Class 3A Payton Regional on Sept. 27. 

Garvey started strong this season. He was medalist at the Reavis Invite (73), a top-20 finisher at the Jones/Payton Invite (83) and eighth at Oak Park-River Forest’s four-team invite (80).

“I really worked upon consistency from last year, just staying around the same scores and not having too many bad rounds,” Garvey said. “I’ve tried to get my driver more consistent and really worked on my putting a lot and my irons into the greens have gotten a lot better.”

Last season, Kaplan and Garvey were among the Bulldogs’ four individual IHSA Class 3A sectional qualifiers. 

This year’s roster has nine seniors, eight of them returning letterwinners. Senior Murphy Regan (98) also returns from the 2021 regional lineup.

“There’s a lot of seniors who haven’t made it too far [in the postseason], so hopefully we can just make it pretty far as a team,” Garvey said.

At the 2021 Payton Regional, Kaplan shot 84 and Garvey 86 to beat the individual cutoff score of 88. Regan shot 98. Kaplan and Garvey followed with 84 and 85, respectively, at the Lyons Township Sectional.

At last season’s Metro Suburban Conference Meet, Garvey (91, tied for 27th) and Kaplan (93, 29th) finished among the top 30 overall, and Regan (96) and William Domanowski (100) were the team’s No. 5 and 6 scores. 

In 2021, Garvey concluded his freshman season by being promoted for the MSC Meet, which allows eight entries per team. Garvey was an alternate for that postseason.

“A lot of [progressing] was a composure thing. The golf side of me, you’ve just got to practice a lot, work on your craft, but a lot of golf is just mental,” Garvey said. “If you have a bad hole, you can’t let it really affect the next five holes or your round.”

Kaplan got 2019 postseason experience with the regional team, which finished sixth. Last season’s highlights included making a shot from about 130 yards out.

“Yeah, a little [shocked],” said Kaplan, who has worked on improving his driving consistency and putting distance.