Jasper to tee off soonMarch 9, 2020
BY COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER — The drive for 13 begins March 16.
That's the first day of practice, and the start Jasper hoping to win its 13th consecutive sectional championship in boys golf. Gone is Jack Bies, who is now a golfer at Northern Kentucky University after graduating from Jasper in 2019, but back are three seniors who cracked last year’s top five: Avery Hollinden, Landon Kissel and Luke Ackerman.
Third-year coach Caleb Begle said the team will be competing for all five spots all year. It’s too early for him to tell who will be in the lineup, but he imagines Hollinden and Kissel will comprise two of the five. Bies ended up as the medalist at multiple golf events last year, and Begle thinks Hollinden or Kissel, possibly both, will ascend to that top spot for Jasper this year.
“You just never know, maybe somebody else comes in, but the way that they’ve played the last couple years, I would assume that it’ll be one of those two guys,” Begle said.
He also praised the job Ackerman and junior Nick Buechlein did last year. Begle isn’t sure if Jasper is going to be as top-heavy this season, but hopes to be competitive with the five it uses.
“Luke was one last year who earned his way into our lineup by how much he worked,” he said. “He stayed after practice. He stayed after matches and went out and practiced.”
Beuchlein is now an upperclassman and Begle thinks his junior golfer has gotten stronger, as he also plays football. He noted that Buechlein didn’t come in with a natural ability, but was one of the team’s hardest workers last year.
“He grinds everything out,” Begle said. “You just never really see him get real excited or real disappointed, which is a good mentality for golf. He has that good mentality about him that he can just kind of shake things off. He doesn’t give up on a whole lot of stuff. He gets frustrated, but when he gets frustrated, usually it means he’s going to go out and work a whole lot harder.”
There are different underclassmen who could find their way into the lineup as well. Jordan Krempp is back for his sophomore year, and got experience last year as a freshman. Begle said Krempp dealt with back issues early last summer, but has been out practicing and could compete for a spot this year. He also discussed a couple of freshmen, Reece Lampert, and Daniel Moore, who could make an impact this season. Begle touted Lampert for being an athlete, as he also is a tennis player, and added that Moore has spent a lot of time on the golf course.
Begle thinks the most crucial things to having a 13th straight sectional crown are consistency and having four good scorers. He wants his golfers to show up and work consistently every day in practice. Begle told his golfers last year they don’t take all of those sectional championships for granted. The titles are earned, and won’t come easy.
“Our guys know that we don’t have somebody at the front like Jack was last year,” he said. “Jack was one of the better players in the sectional. We don’t necessarily have that one or two that can just go and shoot a good score. Everybody’s got to be ready to go, and I think they’ll take that challenge head on.”
He thinks all those sectional championships are a credit both to his predecessor, Steve Milligan, and the players that have come through the program. Begle himself didn’t golf in high school, but had friends who did, and touted how competitive they were. That’s the same kind of competitiveness that he’s looking for in his golfers.
Jasper could not send anybody to state last year despite Bies having the season that he had and the team winning their 12th straight sectional championship. Begle noted how tough it is, and how competitive regionals are at the Champions Pointe Golf Course in Henryville. He said his golfers have to be prepared with how difficult the course is. It’s a matter of finding fairways and get on the greens. Begle added Jasper plays a whole season to see if it can get to that point, and what it can do at that point.
Begle’s message on the first day of practice will be competing, playing and having fun. He plans to talk a lot about the mental side of the game and telling his golfers not to throw shots away if they get mad or something doesn’t go their way. Begle thought some of them did really well towards the end of that last year, and hopes the team continues that.
The season begins April 7 against Vincennes Rivet. Begle noted the first match must be important just like the sectional will be important. He added his golfers must have that mentality and not put too much pressure on themselves.
“You can’t win the sectional until the sectional is here,” Begle said. “We just need to enjoy the match that’s in front of us, the practice that’s in front of us, continue to do that and be consistent with it.”
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