staff photo by oliver good
Hillsboro junior Philip Ediger works on his chipping skills during practice Monday at Hillsboro Country Club.
With two returning golfers and five new additions this year, the Trojans’ golf team has grown in size and experience.
Senior Philip Ediger and sophomore Alex Dalke return to lead the team after placing 21st and 22nd at the regional golf tournament last year.
“Philip and Alex are both showing promise,” coach Scott O’Hare said. “They both improved last season and have progressed since last year. Each just needs to work on consistently striking the ball.”
Hillsboro will have enough players to contend as a team in tournament play, but O’Hare said the focus would still be on individual development.
Five of seven golfers are freshmen. The team lost senior Evan Ollenburger, who missed qualifying for state by one stroke last year, but gained his brother Elliot, a freshman, who has played in Hillsboro’s junior golf program for about three years.
“Elliot is a coachable athletic kid who hits the ball well,” O’Hare said. “With some work, we can clean up his swing to make it more consistent.”
He said Elias Werth is similar to Elliot Ollenburger in athletic ability, but doesn’t have as much instructive golf experience.
“Elias plays golf with friends in the summer,” O’Hare said. “He has good hand-eye coordination and he picks up on things pretty fast.”
Colin Settle also has junior golf experience and often plays with his family, so he’s familiar with the game.
“Colin is a lefty, but he has a nice swing,” O’Hare said. “He strikes the ball well but he has had to change clubs because he’s growing. We just need to work on his short game a bit.”
Trace Jost and Shelby Johnson, the team’s only girl, have limited experience and have put in time with O’Hare working on golf chipping and putting fundamentals.
After seeing the team on the driving range, he said consistent hitting would be a team goal this season.
“The biggest challenge is for them to understand that they will hit bad shots,” O’Hare said. “They all have potential. We just have to reduce the bad shots and make sure that one bad shot doesn’t lead to others.”
The Trojans opening tee off is April 7 at Herington.