Hawks show Lynx the blueprint for gold

It was right about this time two years ago when I watched Trevor Ullestad and Braxton Risetter play golf and thought these two have the potential to not be just good, but great golfers.

Even as sophomores, you could tell the now South Hamilton graduates took the correct approach on the golf course. Not cocky, but confident. Not overly nervous, but determined. Not where they wanted to be, but on the right path.

And now look at them. They’re state champions. Something they’ve wanted to call themselves since they were little kids still golfing in tennis shoes at the Jewell Golf and Country Club.

At times they make the game look easy. And as someone who has thrown more clubs than he can count over the years, I can say this without doubt: golf is anything but easy.

Watching the two best golfers I have ever covered play at Spring Valley Golf Course on Friday was entertaining and talking to them after they won the Class 2A state championship on Saturday was one more chapter I’ll add to my lengthy book on why I think I picked the greatest profession on Earth to call home.

I actually got a smile out of Trevor Ullestad … one of the bigger accomplishments in my time at the Daily Freeman-Journal.

Saturday’s switch to the Ames Golf and Country Club for the 3A state tournament was equally interesting because it led me to this conclusion: Webster City, you’re in the same shoes that South Hamilton occupied two years ago.

Can the Lynx continue to grow and evolve the same way the Hawks did? That will be the challenge.

The Fuhs twins, Alec and Avery, along with Logan Yates, Drew Fielder, John Ferrell and Sean Vogelbacher showed many of the same characteristics that convinced me of the talent that Ullestad and Risetter possessed as sophomores.

Were there nerves? Absolutely. It would be unrealistic to think the WCHS players wouldn’t have at least a few doubts in their first-ever trip to the state meet.

Were there some missteps? Again, absolutely. But Ullestad and Risetter would be the first to tell you that playing your best on the biggest stage is easier said than done.

But the flashes of excellence were also present and in those moments it was easy to see why the Lynx jumped up to third on the leaderboard.

This was easy compared to what comes next though.

WCHS will not fly under the radar a year from now. The Lynx will be expected to contend for the state title, something South Hamilton knows plenty about. The Hawks went to state in 2013 with championship aspirations, only to leave with the third-place trophy. A good result, sure, but not what they wanted.

Can WCHS duplicate South Hamilton’s recent run? I think they can, but it’s the players that have to believe that.

I think they’ll get there. I really do.

In the meantime, may I propose something? It’s a shame that the best 2A team and the third-best 3A team in the state reside just 20 minutes apart and yet never got the chance to go head-to-head this spring. Players, pick a course and date. Tee it up. It’s all in good fun. And if you want someone to photograph the event and write about it, give me a call. I’d be more than happy to do it.