Defending Metro champ makes most of opportunities

Wright State grad Haney headlines field at Country Club of the North

When Pete Samborsky coached men’s golf at Wright State he didn’t recruit Bryce Haney.

“I really wasn’t interested,” Samborsky said. “But he kept pestering me. And he kept having people reach out to me.”

Haney qualified for the Division I state tournament his senior year at Wayne, but his scores did not get the attention of Division I coaches. That didn’t deter Haney. He wanted to keep playing the sport he took up in the 10th grade and he wanted to be a Raider.

ExploreLOOKING BACK: Haney runs away with Metro championship

Samborsky gave in and met with Haney and his parents. Samborsky was impressed, saw a little bit of himself in Haney, and told the kid he could walk on and redshirt. Haney progressed and the next year Samborsky found a little scholarship money for the determined sophomore.

That was Samborsky’s final year as coach and just the beginning of Haney’s climb. Haney finished his Wright State career this past spring as a first-team all-Horizon League player and an all-academic team member. On Thursday, Haney begins defense of his championship at the 99th Miami Valley Golf Association Metropolitan Championship at Country Club of the North. The 72-hole tournament concludes Sunday.

“A lot of what I’ve accomplished he’s a big part of my story because he’s the one that gave me the initial opportunity,” Haney said of Samborsky. “If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have even played college golf.”

Samborsky, who played at Wright State in the mid-1990s and is a five-time winner of the Metro, doesn’t take as much credit as Haney gives.

“I know he gives me a lot of credit,” Samborsky said. “But he’s the one that took an opportunity and just did everything he could with it. Nobody gave him anything. He dug it out of the ground.”

Haney’s determination showed in his seven-shot victory in last year’s Metro at Yankee Trace. The two previous years he finished second and third.

“I’m not worried about defending,” Haney said. “I’m just going to go out and try and do as best I can.”

Samborsky, 2015 champion Peter Betzold and 2010 champion Jeff Scohy are also in the field.

“He expects to win and you need to do that,” Samborsky said. “But sometimes expectations, if you don’t manage them, can be a detriment. So long as he handles his head, he’s got a golf game that can win again.”

Haney said he knows the CCN layout as well as any course he’s played.

“The fairways are massive and the greens are all very flat,” he said. “It’s a pretty easy golf course in my opinion. It’s going to take something pretty low to win.”

Haney has the honor of playing in Thursday’s final group along with other defending champions, which means he will play in the first round with Samborsky and Betzold. Haney and Samborsky are members at NCR Country Club and play together often. The were in the same group at the most recent club championship, but they’ve never been paired in a tournament this big.

“I’m looking forward to playing with him,” Samborsky said. “I mean, I’m not looking forward to him hitting 50 yards by me ... but yeah.”

Whatever happens on the course, Haney will see Samborsky at work Monday morning. Samborsky, the corporate controller at Crane 1, needed accounting help several months ago and hired Haney part time. That work schedule suits Haney as he considers his next steps in golf.

“I’ve been asked that a lot lately, and the honest answer is I don’t really know.,” Haney said. “I’m definitely going to keep playing and going to try and keep competing at the highest level whether that’s amateur or if I decide to turn pro.”

Haney is considering qualifying school for the Korn Ferry Tour, which begins in August. The tour is a developmental circuit for the PGA Tour. That step, if Haney can take it, would be the next in a long line of steps that began when Samborsky said yes.

“Working my tail off and rising up through the ranks and just trying to be the best player I could be was like my way of thanking him for taking a flyer on me,” Haney said, “and giving a kid from Huber Heights a chance.”

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