Lo­cal golfers qual­ify for Florida

Koch, Tyer shoot 76s, Davis 78 in Op­ti­mist dis­trict tour­na­ment

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

Tyler Koch had an un­usual and in­ter­est­ing day at the Mary­land-South Delaware Dis­trict of Op­ti­mist In­ter­na­tional Tour­na­ment on Satur­day at Marl­ton Golf Course in Up­per Marl­boro.

The 2016 La Plata High School grad­u­ate thought he had missed qual­i­fy­ing for the In­ter­na­tional Ju­nior Golf Cham­pi­onships at the PGA Na­tional Re­sort & Spa in Palm Beach Gar­dens, Fla., when he shot a 5-over-par 76 to fin­ish in a sec­ond-place tie in the boys 16- to 18-year-old age group.

But the Is­sue res­i­dent later found out that John Schindler, who won with a 73, was found to have played out of dis­trict. That paved the way for Koch to punch his ticket to Florida.

“I played out well though it re­ally wasn’t what I wanted or ex­pected, but it ended up work­ing out and I’m look­ing for­ward to head­ing back for sure,” said Koch, who will be mak­ing his third trip to the tour­na­ment af­ter qual­i­fy­ing in 2011 and 2014. “It was just a very weird se­ries of events and I never like fin­ish­ing sec­ond, so it was like a win and a loss at the same time, I guess.”

North Point ris­ing sopho­more Trent Tyer will also com­pete in Florida af­ter card­ing a 76 to beat run­ner-up Ryan McFad­den by two strokes.

“Yeah, I hon­estly can’t wait,” Tyer said. “I know it’s go­ing to be a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence to go and yeah, I’m very happy. I haven’t played as much as I’ve wanted to this year, but un­der those cir­cum­stances and with Florida on the line it just felt good to be able to shoot that score.”

Chase Cooper of Wal­dorf also qual­i­fied when he won the boys 10-11 age group with a 90.

In the girls di­vi­sion, Bai­ley Davis of White Plains fin­ished with a 78 to de­feat Jenny Hug by three strokes and win the 13-14 age group.

“I re­al­ized what I could qual­ify for and I re­ally wanted to go to Florida, so I just tried my best to get back to my reg­u­lar game,” said Davis, who at­tends Davis Mid­dle School in Wal­dorf. “I’m ex­cited to see the dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tion.”

Maken­zie Cooper was un­able to qual­ify for the Florida com­pe­ti­tion when she fin­ished with a 97, three strokes over the 94 needed to qual­ify.

Koch may be headed to the tour­na­ment, which will be held July 20 to 25 for the 10-11 and 12-13 boys and 10-12 girls, July 25 to 30 for the 14-15 boys and 13-14 girls, and July 30 to Aug. 4 for the boys 16-18 and girls 15-18, but he was none too pleased with his per­for­mance on the links.

“Hon­estly, not at all,” said Koch, who will play golf at Winthrop Univer­sity (S.C.) in the fall. “I missed a lot of putts I usu­ally make. I ended up grind­ing pretty well and I hit the ball awe­some, but I was just strug­gling to make those putts I usu­ally make within 10 feet and strug­gling with the speed of the greens. Just sim­ple stuff.”

Koch wanted to get a prac­tice round or two in but was un­able to get a pre­view of the 5,751-yard course as he was com­pet­ing in a Mary­land am­a­teur qual­i­fier.

“I think it would have re­ally helped me out,” he said. “I tried to get there early [Satur­day] to get the speed of greens down. I plan on go­ing down there more pre­pared. I re­mem­ber vividly I was ex­hausted by the sec­ond day so plan get into gym and cre­ate more stamina and sta­bil­ity. And just keep my head about me and try and map out the course as good as pos­si­ble to give my­self the best op­por­tu­nity to win.”

Koch said tak­ing ad­van­tage of ev­ery hole and ev­ery shot will be key.

“I re­ally feel like hit­ting your ap­proach shots close gives you the best op­por­tu­nity to make birdies,” he said. “There’s a lot of kids down there that make tons of birdies and that’s go­ing to be key

if I want to win. I know I have the tal­ent and the abil­ity to win, now it’s just go out there and prac­tice hard and do it.”

Tyer said the key on Satur­day was stick­ing to his game plan, which was to play con­ser­va­tively.

“I played very con­ser­va­tive off the tee all day and hit a lot of irons off the tee and just stayed with my game plan and trusted my­self to shoot the score I needed,” he said. “I was think­ing about pulling a driver on 18 but that was a hole I needed to bring my­self back on so I hit a 4-iron and just stayed with my game plan.”

Tyer said his best hole was the 492-yard, par-5 No. 7, which he birdied.

“I hit a driver off that tee but hit it way too far, so I knew I needed to pull a 3-wood be­cause that was trav­el­ing for me and I hit it out there re­ally well,” Tyer said. “I had 268 [yards] un­til the green, so I pulled another 3-wood be­cause I’d made some good shots ear­lier in the day [with that club], so I just stayed con­fi­dent on the ball and knocked it up there on the green and two-putted from 30 feet.”

Tyer said pre­pared­ness will be key to suc­cess in the Sun­shine State.

“I think every­one knows go­ing into this tour­na­ment that it’s a tough golf course,” he said, re­fer­ring to the PGA Na­tional Re­sort & Spa course, “so it’s go­ing to take a lot of prepa­ra­tion and map­ping out a game plan and stick­ing to it.”

Davis re­bounded from a near-dis­as­trous 9 on the 282yard, par-4, No. 3.

“I hit it out of bounds twice,” she said. “I just tried to not let it get to me and as long as I fin­ished with par I would have been fine, which I did for the most part. I think in my po­si­tion I didn’t use the shot I should have, and the re­sult of my other shot wasn’t very good. And then af­ter that bad shot the bad shots just kept on com­ing.”

Davis said she thought her game clos­est to the tee would be key to fin­ish­ing well in Florida.

“I think the short game will be the most im­por­tant,” she said. “I think as long as I stay within my game — mid to low 70s — will be my main goal.”

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

Tyler Koch chips out of a bunker on his way to a 76 and a share of sec­ond place in the boys 16-18 age group.

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