Urbana High School junior Jacob Ferrari is the type of golfer whose confidence is largely predicated on his daily practice sessions; whether at the driving range or playing a full round, he swings his clubs every single day. So, when a severely strained back muscle under his shoulder blade left him unable to pick up his clubs for the first three weeks of the season, Ferrari, the son of 10th-year Urbana golf coach Frank Ferrari, was unsure what his role would be in what promised to be the Hawks’ most successful campaign in seven years.
“I was doing nothing until it healed, and it was really hard, really difficult for me,” Ferrari said. “I like to swing every day and I feel like if I miss a couple of days, my swing isn’t the same. When I first came back, I wasn’t playing as well as I was before the season. That time off made me feel like I didn’t have my swing anymore.”
Little by little, however, Ferrari began seeing glimpses of his pre-injury swing. And finally on Oct. 2, following a 3-under-par 69 performance that earned him first-place finish in the boys’ individual standings at the Frederick County Championships and helped Urbana to its ninth team title in 10 years, Ferrari—and his teammates —knew he was back.
Three weeks later at the season-ending state championship played Oct. 22 to 24 on the University of Maryland Golf Course, Ferrari shot a team-best 152 over two days to finish fourth in the boys’ competition—and Urbana clinched its first state title since winning three straight from 2009-11. All four Urbana players finished inside the top 10 at the state competition, propelling the Hawks to a dominant 18-stroke victory.
Freshman Bach Ngo, who was two strokes out of first place following the semifinal round, and Michael Snyder tied for seventh place, scoring 155 apiece, and senior Elliott Haas (157) tied for 10th. The story of Urbana’s success this fall was depth and consistency.
Haas, who shot 4-under-67 on a notoriously difficult Maryland National Golf Club course to win the boys’ competition and lead Urbana to the Central Maryland Conference team title on Oct. 9, and Ngo, who finished third at counties, separated themselves early as the Hawks’ most consistent players. But as the postseason results proved, any one of Urbana’s top four could pick up the slack if someone was having an off day.
“I think we all knew we could put in a good round, which did take the pressure off each of us,” Jacob Ferrari said. “If someone wasn’t playing well, it motivated me personally, to play better and I think it made each one of us want to play better to pick them up. If we were out there and heard that someone was having a bad round, we never thought we were out of (a competition).”
It was Urbana’s depth that won it the Class 4A/3A District I title on Oct. 12. The Hawks finished five strokes ahead of the field without winning an individual title. But again, all four finished inside the top 10—Haas’ team-best 73 was good for second place, Ngo and Snyder each shot 74 to tie for third and Ferrari (82) finished eighth.
With Haas the only senior in Urbana’s top six this fall, the Hawks are positioned well for continued success. And freshman Anphi Le is poised to compete for a permanent spot in the top four after quite a remarkable debut season this fall. Though her scores did contribute to Urbana’s team totals this postseason, she won the girls’ individual title at the county and conference championships and capped the season by finishing 12th at states. Her round of 74 at counties put her in fifth place overall.
“If you make the top 10-12 at Urbana, it’s really a feather in your cap and you’re part of our success,” Coach Frank Ferrari said. “Elliott didn’t play as a freshman and now he’s the guy everyone looks to. So, if you’re a freshman or a sophomore and you don’t get to play in the top four, well, these kids know, ‘Oh, I can do that. I can be Elliott in two years.’”
Jacob Ferrari was about nine years old the last time Urbana won a state golf title. He revered those players, he said, and dreamt of standing where they had. Getting to bask in state glory alongside his father was a special moment Ferrari said he’ll never forget.
“It was awesome,” the younger Ferrari said. “When I was a kid, having my dad as the coach, I was up there and watched them win (three straight years), so I always dreamed of playing in the state championship. To finally be on the team and win it with my dad as my coach, it was a dream come true.”