|NorthStar not kind to Kayser, Recker and rest of field|
|Monday, October 15, 2012 2:26 PM|
St. John's Nick Kayser chips onto 16 Saturday during he second round of State golf play at Sunbury. Kayser placed 7th individually at the end of the day.
By JIM METCALFE
SUNBURY — The PGA always likes to have the toughest courses it can for its hallowed US Open, challenging the best of te best for the United States Championship and one of the four majors on the professional tour.
The OHSAA may not have as many options as the PGA and it may not be the professionals they are challenging but it chose a good one for the Division III Boys State Golf Meet Friday and Saturday: the 5-year-old NorthStar Golf Resort in Sunbury.
The nearly 7,000-yard, par-72 course took its toll on the best golfers the Division III ranks have for 2012.
Two Tri-County individuals: St. John’s senior Nick Kayser and Kalida senior Neil Recker; battled not only the length and intricacies of the course but a steady and tricky wind.
Kayser finished seventh as an individual (out of 12) with a 2-day total of 162 (81 each day) — 18 strikes behind the champion, Andrew Bieber of Gates Mills Gilmour Academy — while managing 20th place when all the golfers were thrown in.
Kayser felt frustrated throughout his two days of competition.
“It just never felt right in any part of my game; I felt a little bit off the whole time. It was tough to basically not pick up a club from districts last Saturday to the practice round Thursday (due to an illness this week),” he began. “I’m not making an excuse but it didn’t help make me feel comfortable. That stuff happens in the game of golf; you are not always going to be able to play your best or feel your best to play and you have to fight through it.”
Not only was he not feeling chipper but the course added to his “ills.”
“I couldn’t get any breaks to go my way. You really also have to be on your game to play well at this course,” he continued. “The wind was tough for everyone and I had a lot of trouble with consistency.
“You have to hit straight on this course because the fairways are narrow; if you’re off, you’re in trouble. The greens were definitely faster that any I’ve ever played on; the speed was tough to deal with and they were hard to read consistently. It was just tough for me to string a lot of good holes together but a lot of people struggled these two days.
“Still, it’s definitely a good experience to be here at state; it is what I worked for for a long time. I just wish I could have done better for myself.”
His coach at St. John’s, John Klausing, was a little more upbeat than his charge.
“It looked to me like he did everything solidly from tee to green; it was his putting that let him down. That has been the story of his whole season,” Klausing reflected. “He is consistent in most of his game but the putting is where he sometimes struggled. With the greens as fast as they were today — they were like glass; I’d guess between 10-11 on the Stent scale of difficulty, which is pretty tough for pros, let alone high-schoolers — he couldn’t sink enough putts. That was the difference today between him the ones ahead of him.
Klausing hopes that in time, Kayser will be able to realize how well he did against the best of the best in Division III and against a very difficult course.
“He made it here, which is something to be proud of,” Klausing added. “Considering the conditions: the toughness of the course, the winds, everything; he did very well. He did better than a lot of good golfers throughout the state but he set such high hopes for himself before and throughout the season — he wanted to win this thing — I know he’s disappointed.”
Recker struggled to his 193 (90-103) to end up last as an individual and 70th overall.
“I wasn’t nervous at all coming into Friday. I thought I had a good read on it after the practice round Thursday but there’s a difference when there’s pressure on,” he said. “I just struggled managing the course both days; I might have a couple of good holes but then would have a couple of bad holes. I had a 13 today (No. 3) and a 10 (7) and those are hard to make up for. I tried hard but it just seemed the harder I tried, the worse it got; that was true especially today because I knew I had to really do well to move up.”
Recker was quite philosophical in his feelings after the match.
“I had so much support today. It meant a lot that so many people came down here to watch the golf,” he added. “I came in confident today that I was going to do well but it just wasn’t happening. Still, this is a great experience. I made it here, so I’m not really disappointed. It would have been nice to finish higher but I did what I could.”
His coach, long-time Kalida mentor Ken Schnipke — who has sent seven teams and one other individual to state in his career — was also reflective.
“He had a great year,” Schnipke said. “He shot an 82 at the PCL with a bad back but healed up and medalled at District with a 74. He had a great year to get here.”
The course is what everyone was talking about.
“The course got the best of a lot of players. It’s long and with the wind, it makes things much tougher,” he added. “A lot of people talked about the greens; the kids that play in national tournaments are used to these kinds of greens while the vast majority aren’t. That’s a big advantage. At the same time, the fairways are narrow and reward a straight hitter; if you are off, you get into a lot of trouble and it’s hard to scramble out of that. You really have to be smart with your decision-making; when you have that bad shot, you have to be more willing to go for a bogey than try to go for a birdie.”