Chief among those returners is Luke Gordon, who placed eighth at state. Ostmeyer said he could have just as easily listed a two-time state qualifier Jake Bredemeier or Keith Jones at the head of the pack.
“Bredemeier is a tournament performer—he plays his best when the chips are down,” Ostmeyer said. “He’s played some of his best rounds at the regional tournament. That’s when some kids fold.
“Jake is a kid that. If you’re just playing a round, he might not play well. But if something is on the line, he rises to the occasion. You don’t see that a lot in high school kids.”
Jones shot an 86 at state, and Bredemeier an 88.
“Keith is Mr. Steady,” Ostmeyer said. “He’s not going to make many mistakes, and he’s not going to get you a bad score.
“He’s a great team golfer,” he added. “He’s not going to go out and win many meets as an individual, but he’s always going to give you the score you expect and you need to have.”
Ostmeyer lauded Gordon’s talent.
“He really hits the ball well, and he can do a lot of things talent-wise that others can’t. But he doesn’t necessarily score as well as his skills. For him, it’s a matter of putting the ball in the hole, of letting his scores equal his ball-striking ability.
“All three of those guys have proven that they can shoot low scores, but what is needed is for them to do it consistently,” Ostmeyer said. “I don’t know that any one of them has shown himself to be consistently better than the other two.
“Hopefully, as they’ve all grown, they’ll all get into the mix for medals each meet, because they’re all capable of top-five or top-10 everywhere we’ll go,” he added.
“Those three guys will be a good, solid top three in our order—and they’re going to have to be, because they don’t have the luxury of having a bad round that they had last year.”
While the jostling for top billing might not be resolved until the hoped-for consistency develops, the question of who will be the team’s fourth is a bit tougher.
“The rest of the roster is kind of interesting—our fifth from last year, Chase Carlson, is playing baseball,” Ostmeyer said.
“But there is a possibility that he could play some meets throughout the course of the year when we can work out the schedules.”
The team’s sixth player last year was Lindsay Hett, a sophomore who has an opportunity to crack the top four.
“Hopefully, her scoring average will improve over last year’s,” Ostmeyer said. “She’s a year older, and she’ll be in the mix for a varsity spot.”
Ostmeyer the the team might have a “pleasant surprise” in Swedish exchange student Ollie Gemfors, who tied for second in his first round with the team.
“Hopefully, he can consistently shoot those scores,” Ostmeyer said. “It looks like he can. He swings the club well, and he is from a golf country.”
Ostmeyer suggested that even having a player consistently breaking 90 would be a tremendous boon, given the question marks presently obscuring the identity of the team’s fourth, fifth and sixth scorers.
Landon Leiker is a strong candidate to play with the varsity.
“Hopefully, we’ll get that score tournament in and tournament out,” Ostmeyer said.
“Apart from the golfers I’ve mentioned, our roster is comprised of a lot of freshmen and beginners.
“I’m just not sure that we’ll have anyone from that group be able to give us the kind of scores we need to benefit us in a varsity meet.”
The roster goes 12 deep—13 if Carlson is available.
Without the automatic 70-something score Travis Hett consistently posted last season, the team will need the top three to score in the low 80s on a regular basis just to hold its ground relative to its rivals.
“They’re capable of it—none of those guys should settle for a score higher than 82,” Ostmeyer said. “If we can get the top three into the 70s every meet and find one score in the 80s, we’ll have the calibre of scores we’ve been shooting.
“I think we’re capable of posting the same team scores we were last year despite losing Travis,” Ostmeyer said. “Yeah, that’s optimistic, but we’re also capable of it.”