Trojan trio to carry golf hopes

The Hillsboro golf team will have a roster of three players in 2014. Pictured from left are Phillip Ediger, Alex Dalke and Evan Ollenburger.With only three players on the roster, Hillsboro golf coach Scott O?Hare will be leading the smallest team in his 16 years at the helm.

The immediate impact is that Hillsboro won?t be able to compete for team honors, which requires four scores.

?We?re going to be strictly having those guys work on individual accomplishments,? O?Hare said.

That comes with some benefits?less pressure on a golfer to shoot well to help the team?but also some frustration, at least for O?Hare.

?I really like the three guys I have, and feel that all three can shoot reasonably good scores for us,? he said.

?We?re in a place that, with a fourth person and these guys, we could be shooting some of the better team scores we?ve shot since we?ve lost some of those top golfers we?ve had coming through Hillsboro for a while.?

Leading the charge for the Trojans will be senior Evan Ollenburger, a four-year player who came within a couple of strokes of qualifying for the Class 3A state tournament last season.

?As with every other sport I?ve coached Evan in, he?s got so much athleticism and he wants to compete and be successful, so he?s willing to work at it,? O?Hare said.

?I would like to believe we could get him shooting in the 70s this year. If he can do that, he?s going to medal in a lot of tournaments, and I think he would have a shot of qualifying for the state tournament.?

The other veteran on the team is junior Phillip Ediger, who is beginning his third season playing for O?Hare.

?He got a little bit of varsity play last year,? O?Hare said of Ediger. ?He?s one who didn?t play a lot before high school, but he?s progressed quite a bit in his two years so far. If he can continue to improve at the rate he has, he could be shooting some decent scores. Our goal right now is to get him down into the 80s, if not the mid to low 80s.?

Completing the roster is freshman Alex Dalke. Unlike freshmen over the past few seasons, Dalke has golf experience as a participant in the local Kids Golf program O?Hare leads in the summer.

?He actually hits his irons pretty well,? O?Hare said about Dalke?s game. ?Where he probably lacks a little bit right now is confidence in his woods and his driver, and inconsistency in short game.

?So far he?s shown me that he?s going to be pretty coachable,? he added. ?Already in the few practices we?ve had, he?s improving on the short game. He hasn?t had a lot of time to work with his driver yet.

?Just from what I?m seeing from him so far, I think he could be shooting in the 80s pretty quickly.?

Even with only three players, O?Hare has a mix of varsity and junior varsity tournaments on the schedule. The key is to put each player in a setting where he can reasonably compete.

?My challenge will be trying to balance where they guys are at, whether I need to take one or two of them to some JV meets, or if we?re at a place where I can take them all in that varsity schedule and go with that,? he said.

One varsity strategy toward that end could be having Ollenburger play with the No. 1 players from other schools, but assigning Ediger and Dalke to the No. 5 and No. 6 players.

The Trojans will open their tournament schedule next Tuesday at Herington, followed by the Hillsboro Invitational the following Friday.

The Trojans will compete again on the home course May 9 as half of the 36-hole Marion County Invitational hosted in tandem with Marion High School.

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