Last season the Palatine boys golf team was an experienced group with eight seniors on the roster.
This year they have only two, so to say Tim Klein and Preston Towers will counted on in a huge way could be an understatement.
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"It's a big responsibility," said Towers. "We'll have to put in a lot of extra effort, and there's more pressure -- but I like it that way."
Wednesday at Palatine Hills Golf Course, the two seniors and junior teammate Tom Broders showed flashes of why it could be a stellar season for the Pirates.
Broders fired a 37, Klein carded a 38 and Towers shot 40 as Palatine (154) defeated Prospect (157) and Conant (172) in a Mid-Suburban League triangular.
Trace Holloway made a clutch contribution for the hosts by shooting 39 as the Pirates scored their first two wins of the MSL season.
"We're showing a lot of consistency this year," said Klein. "We've got a lot of guys who can play at high level and go out there and shoot 38 or lower at any time.
"There's a lot of talent on this team."
Palatine coach Mark Johnson, whose team improved to 2-2 in conference play, knows how important his two senior leaders will be to the team's success in 2013.
"We're going to be counting on them in every match," said Johnson. "These two are excellent role models, they've put in a lot of hard work and they've dedicated themselves to the game.
"We had a slight hiccup in our opening match against Hersey and Barrington (two Palatine losses), and I know that if the guys had played up to their capabilities we had a great chance of winning there."
Prospect senior Ralph Tenuta tied for medalist honors on the day at what he called "one of the toughest courses in the area" by matching Broders with a 37.
And though the Knights suffered their first MSL loss Wednesday since 2011 -- they swept through the league undefeated last year -- Tenuta says that Prospect has hopes of competing for another conference crown.
"We're solid again this season and we've got high expectations," said the senior. "It all comes down to how well we execute."
"There's a little more pressure on us this year (because of last season's undefeated campaign). We're not the type of team to go out there and boast or anything like that, but we expect to do well."
Grant Gavin shot 39 for the Knights, teammate Jack Kavanagh carded 40 while Jonathan Chang and Matt Crance led the way for Conant with 40's.
Jacob Schuster of Prospect shot 41; the Knights Brian Hennely finished at 42; while Palatine's Danny Coleman excelled for the winners with a 42.
"Preston and I will be counted on to be leaders," said Klein of the young Pirates squad, "but we also know how good the rest of the guys on this team are. If we happen to falter they'll be there to pick us up."