Trojan golf ?green? with youth

The Hillsboro golf team has seven members this spring: (from left) Colin Settle, Elias Werth, Alex Dalke, Phillip Ediger, Eliott Ollenburger, Shelby Johnson and Trace Jost. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press
The Hillsboro golf team has seven members this spring: (from left) Colin Settle, Elias Werth, Alex Dalke, Phillip Ediger, Eliott Ollenburger, Shelby Johnson and Trace Jost. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press

Green is the color of spring and the place on a golf course where you win tournaments. But it?s also an appropriate adjective with which to describe the Hillsboro golf team this season.

Coach Scott O?Hare does welcome back two returning varsity players, senior Phillip Ediger and sophomore Alex Dalke.

?Both of those two played the majority of our tournaments last year, so they have quite a bit of experience,? O?Hare said. ?Of course, Phillip has a few more years of it because he?s being doing it since he was a freshman. Alex is just a sophomore, so he has just the one year.?

Last year, both Ediger and Dalke both struggled to keep their scores below triple digits at tournaments, but now are the veterans for a group of five freshmen teammates, most of whom come with essentially no experience at the competitive level.

Even so, O?Hare sees varsity potential in at least three of those freshmen: Colin Settle, Elias Werth and Elliott Ollenburger.

?Of the three, Colin is the one who probably has the most experience because he?s that kid who has a family that plays golf,? O?Hare said. ?He?s out there and has been playing.

?He probably right now has the most natural golf swing,? he added. ?He?s a lefty, which doesn?t necessarily make it the best golf swing, but as a player he understands that. We?re really working with consistency with him.?

O?Hare said athleticism and competitiveness give Werth and Ollenburger a natural advantage.

?The nice thing about those two is that they?re both athletic, have good hand-eye coordination and are both very coachable. They understand what I?m trying to teach them, and they work hard to fix it.

?The other thing that?s really good about those three freshmen, they all want to be good at golf and they all have a very competitive nature. That part of it is pretty exciting.?

O?Hare said freshmen Shelby John?son and Trace Jost will need to work on the mechanics of their game with the goal of playing in some junior varsity tournaments when they are ready to do so.

?Trace and Shelby are both struggling with making good contact consistently,? O?Hare said. ?That?s going to come with reps.

?The other five all have swings that will produce really good golf shots. You can watch them at any time, and you think these guys have the potential to shoot in the 80s, maybe even the 70s.

?But they can?t do that consistently yet,? he added. ?They have to eliminate those bad shots?they?re still going to have bad shots, but make it so it doesn?t cost them two or three strokes.?

O?Hare believes his top five have a shot of medaling at some of the smaller tournaments on the schedule.

?I think we?re capable of shooting some numbers that will put us in the mix,? he said. ?It?s pretty exciting, especially with such a young group.

?I?m being cautiously optimistic saying that, because I know until they get their game consistent, shooting those scores are going to be difficult.?

The Trojans open their competitive season April 7 at the Herington Invitational, then will host their home invitational April 10.

Hillsboro will again co-host the Marion County Invitational along with Marion May 8.