Elder golf aims for state

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Elder’s A team includes Jack Wertz, Evan DiSanto, Jacob Rhoads, Lucas Palicki, Jack Baker and head coach Matthew Robben ’08.

Elder golf has been making a name for itself lately. With a good senior class and a very strong group of juniors, Elder should be looking to be a state contender this year. The lineup this year is full of returning varsity players consisting of four juniors and one senior. With a tough schedule the Panthers are ready to represent.

Wertz and the team at state last year.

Last year, Elder golf really stepped it up and sent Jack Wertz to state as an individual entrant. Prior to Wertz, no Elder golfer had gone to state since 2011.

I talked to Wertz about last year and how the season finished.

“It was a true honor being able to go up and golf in the state tournament as a sophomore. I didn’t golf my best but that’s all part of the game. I just wasn’t on that day but that’s in the past.”

I then talked to Jack Baker about last year’s season and he told me, “Last year we started out great, doing big things that Elder hadn’t done in a while but as the season continued some of our players were suspended. This really took a toll on our team.”

Both golfers explained how they made both personal and team goals for the 2017 season. Some of these goals have been checked off the list but others still need to be accomplished. Luckily there is still some time for them to reach them all.

Wertz went on to discuss the talent of the team.

“Overall we are a really talented team but we just need to hone our skills in and be more consistent,” said Wertz.

The team is full of experienced underclassmen with a strong junior class, so there is still time for the boys to get ready for senior year.

But the future is just on the back burner for Evan DiSanto who told me, “I want to see the team playing in the state tournament this year.”

This is a great goal for the team because this has not been achieved since 2011, when Daniel Schwarz led the team to state. Among the three golfers I interviewed, making it to state as a team seemed to be the main goal of the season.

Jack Baker at Western Hills golfing in the GCL Quad

Another goal the Panthers have is to beat St. X. The golfers just came up short at the GCL Quad which took place Western Hills Country Club. Varsity lost to St. X by four strokes at this quad posting a team score of 139.

I asked junior, Jack Baker about this particular match and he told me, “I really was a little bummed with my performance, shooting a 38. I was battling an injury at the time but luckily I think I have that under control now.”

This was a tough match for Baker knowing that a few weeks prior to this match he shot a 34 at the same course. This match, however, will go down in history for Panthers, because they shot a record low score on this course in team history.

The records don’t just stop there though, the Panthers also set two new Elder course records. The boys set an Elder personal record when they played at The Kenwood Country club at the Kenwood Invitational shooting a 300. Sadly they came up short losing by nine strokes that day.

Also, they set a new course record at Clovernook Country Club for the GCL quad hosted by LaSalle with a 155. However the Panthers ended up finishing second in this quad, which just shows the tough competition the GCL has to offer.

Wertz is out to set a school record for himself. His nine-hole average is 37. So he is on track to break Elder’s single season scoring record. This year, however, Wertz’s putting game is struggling. I asked him about this and he said, “Yeah, my putts haven’t been too hot this year but I’m ready to turn that around. I just got rid of the ole Scotty Cameron and got myself a Taylor Made.”

This has to be pretty exciting for the man, getting a new putter with a month and a half left in the season. With this new putter, Wertz will be looking to take the stroke count down a little.

Overall, the Panthers have been making a name for themselves these past few years on the green. Hopefully the boys are able to make it to the state tournament. With half the season left to go, the team is grinding to be able to meet the goals they haven’t yet achieved. Most importantly these guys just need to focus in and get find their rhythm.