NORTH ADAMS -- Whether he is digging in the under brush or walking up the fairway to find his ball, Matt Lawrence has kept his composure on the golf course.
It's one of the many things that has helped the Drury junior improve his game drastically from the 2011 season.
"That just kind of shows the type of player he is," coach Don Dagnoli said after watching Lawrence save par on the ninth hole at North Adams Country club during a Sept. 5 match. "He can grind it out when he needs too. He has a great short game and he can make shots when he has too."
That ninth hole against Pittsfield might be the best example of his composure. He sent his second shot on the hole way left. So left that it landed just in front of a rabbit hole in the underbrush that sits in front of the tee box on the seventh hole at North Adams Country Club. That didn't phase him though. He still salvaged par on the final hole.
Or maybe his final eight holes on Sept. 7 were his most composed of the season. He double-bogeyed the first hole, and then went on to earn medalist honors in the match, shooting a 38, on the par 34 course.
Either way, early in the season his composure and ability to bounce back has helped him trim nearly eight strokes off of his game from last year.
"It's my short game really," Lawrence said. "That's the big thing. Some of my drives aren't what I want them to be, but I help myself out with a pretty good short
A short game doesn't just develop itself. It is something he has worked at since the end of last season.
"A lot of practice everyday," he said. "Nine or 18 holes every single day. I do a lot of chipping and putting."
Dagnoli believes a short game is one of the most important weapons for a golfer.
"Most of the shots we lose are short game related," Dagnoli said. "It's just a matter of focus and working to really improve the short game."
Lawrence splits his practice time between three courses. His parents own Stamford Valley Golf Course in Stamford, Vt. He also has a membership at Taconic Golf Club and North Adams Country Club, where Drury plays its home matches.
"Matt just works really hard at it," Dagnoli said. "He's always practicing and always playing. He loves the game, that is clear."
Lawrence has shot a 41, 39, 38 and 45 in his team's first four matches of the season, leading the Blue Devils to a record of 3-1. He ended last season averaging a 45 in matches, according to Dagnoli.
Lawrence is one of just two upperclassmen on the Blue Devils starting roster this season. He has been playing out of the No. 1 position, while senior Alex Boulger has been playing out of the two slot. The rest of the team is made up of freshman and sophomores. But with Lawrence and Boulger leading the way, the team is just one win shy of its 2011 win total.
"Matt is all about hard work and dedication to the game," Dagnoli said. "He leads by example, and these young guys watch him."
Lawrence believes the Blue Devils all have a high amount of potential. The team seems to struggle with the short game, much like he did last season. He is confident that part of everyone's game will come around and the team will be competitive for the next several seasons.
Just four matches into the season, the junior is just two rounds away from qualifying as an individual for the Western Massachusetts match. In order to qualify an individual must shoot five rounds of five or less over par. Lawrence has done that three times so far this season.
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