10 Golfers To Watch
Clark Engle, senior Spg. Shawnee
Jack Kegelmeyer, senior Oakwood
Matt Kern, senior Springboro
Nick Seitz, senior Carroll
Austin Sipe, senior Centerville
Caleb Wolters, senior Centerville
Alec Tahy, senior Alter
Tripp French, junior Oakwood
Connor Super, junior Troy
Ryan Flick, sophomore Beavercreek
For a high school golf program that has reached a school-record three straight state tournaments, the Centerville Elks are a confident group. Still, the Elks might be feeling a few early-season jitters on Thursday.
Centerville hosts the inaugural Elks Invitational at the Golf Club at Yankee Trace, attempting to defend their home turf against some stout competition, including defending state champion Dublin Jerome.
“It should be a great tournament with talented teams there,” Centerville coach Jason Brandeberry said, noting there might be a little pressure to capture that inaugural title. “A little bit. I think the guys know the course well enough. I feel like Yankee is a pretty straightforward course, but there are some holes it helps to know and it gives you a little more confidence.”
After finishing second at state in 2011 — nine strokes behind Jerome — Centerville is again a team to watch in 2012. Seniors Austin Sipe, Caleb Wolters, Ryan Wenzler, Taylor Holt, Ben Heimbach and Scott Sears highlight a group that might not be as deep as last year’s team but has the potential to again challenge the state’s best. The Elks are already off to a fast start. They won the GWOC preseason tournament with a 296 (16 strokes better than runner-up Springboro) and finished fifth with a 306 at the highly-competitive Mount Vernon Invitational on Monday.
“I think we’ve got a shot (at winning state). Obviously second place is a pretty good season,” said Brandeberry, whose Elks also finished 11th in 2010 and seventh in 2009 at state. “I’ve still got four or five guys that can score well on any course. The guys know, even though they’ve made it three years in a row, it’s something not to be taken for granted. The Southwest district is just loaded.”
Count the Oakwood Lumberjacks in that discussion for Division II. Oakwood is also coming off three straight trips to the D-II tournament, including state championships in 2009 and 2010. They finished fourth last year.
“They have been talking about it ever since they stopped playing last fall,” Oakwood coach Jen Lohmeyer said of reclaiming that state championship. “They’ve been talking about this season. I think everybody is focused and ready to work really hard.”
The Jacks return four seniors in Henry Blattner, Jack Kegelmeyer, Alex Marquis and Wilson Mullen. Juniors Tripp French, who led Oakwood at state, Austin Wells and Patrick Ireland also return after finishing among Oakwood’s group of top five scorers at state.
“I think all the confidence helps. I don’t know that it helps when we step out of the van in the parking lot. But when they get on the course my guys have a lot of confidence from the tournaments and the work they do on their own,” Lohmeyer said.
Also in the area, Kenton Ridge returns its top five scores from its D-II state championship team and Springfield Shawnee returns D-II individual champion Clark Engle.