Rangers return key golfers

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Forest Park junior Cooper Uebelhor practices with an indoor simulator Wednesday in Ferdinand inside the home of Rangers coach Chris Tretter. Uebelhor is expected to be a big part of the team this season. 


FERDINAND — Forest Park graduated a few seniors last year in Jacob Berg, Tanner Berg and Nolan Brames, but Rangers coach Chris Tretter likes what he has returning in 2021.

"We have four kids (Senior Gavin Edele, juniors Brant Tretter, Cooper Uebelhor and Jacob Bettag) who are returning for us who are single digit handicap players — meaning that they are elite high school players," Chris said. "Two of those kids (Brant and Edele) are capable of going under par at any given time. They are low single digit handicap players.

"...I would note that those two are looking really good, but I would also say out of the 12 players that we have this year, I've seen improvement in every one of them," he later said.

Chris believes he has eight players who can contribute to varsity this year. He talked about the aforementioned four, but sees four more golfers competing for the team's fifth spot: Tyler Haug, a senior, Calvin Hasenour and Logan Ferguson, both juniors, and Trejan Morrison, a sophomore.

He believes the four of them vying for that fifth spot are all very similar, and he believes in giving all of them an opportunity.

"I see that fifth spot really being a little bit revolving for a while as those four players really become comfortable and confident," he said. "I would say by the time we get into Mid-May is when we'll start to see what might solidify from who would lock down the fifth spot going into the conference, and then into sectional."

The Rangers made it to regionals as a team in 2017. He noted that that team had good players, but not elite players. Chris describes Edele and Brant as "great," while Uebelhor and Bettag are "very good."

"I think we have depth in terms of the strength of the players," Chris said. "I think that that's really what differentiates this team from years past, and put us into the conversation to compete as we get into conference and into sectional."

This year will the chance for Bettag to shine on the golf course, as he's already an upper classman without much time at the prep level. He dealt with an injury that limited his time on the golf course as a freshman, and the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down spring sports took away his sophomore season.

However, he did get to play in some leagues last year that allowed that him to keep practicing the game.

"Was the pressure the same in those leagues as you would see in a conference match, in a sectional match? No," Chris said. "But fundamentally, he has great balance, and a great mental makeup to him. He hits the ball very pure. As long as he can handle the pressure, I expect really, really good things out of him."

Chris spoke to the Herald on March 3, though nothing has changed since then, according to a Thursday text message to the Herald. Based off of how his golfers competed in leagues last year, he anticipates Brant would be the team's No. 1 golfer going into the year, with Edele being No. 2. He expects that to be the case this spring, but nothing is set in stone. Chris believes both Brant and Edele of qualifying for state this year.

"They will need their A-game that day," he said. "To get out as an individual, you have to shoot right at par. As I mentioned before, they are capable of going under par. So, do they have their A-game? If they don't have their A-game when they go there, the answer's no. If they have their A-game, they can absolutely advance."

It's that A-game that Chris talks about that he is relaying to his players. He knows that they're really good when they're on the A-game, but he questions if the team can score when they're not on said A-game. He wants to know if Forest Park can maintain its composure, support the team and put the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible when it doesn't have its best on a given night.

As he put it, the game is rented, and not owned — because some days his players will shoot well, and other days, they won't have it.

"Can we move forward when we meet adversity?" he asked.

The Rangers are set to tee off April 3 at the Springs Valley Invite.

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