Every once in a while, a parent whose rationality takes a temporary leave of absence that coincides with the high school sports career of said parent’s son or daughter, becomes convinced the local paper “favors” the other school in town.
You don’t hear such charges from the young athletes because they don’t have anything personal against their cross-town rivals. Don’t tell some of the parents this, but most of the athletes actually like their foes.
This truth never was more evident than one day last week when golfers from Free State and Lawrence played nine-hole practice rounds together at Alvamar public and then continued the fun with a cookout at the home of Kyle and Renee Green, color-blind parents of Firebirds sophomore Alex Green.
It seemed as good a time as any to find out which of the city’s prep golfers had the best skills, according to their peers, so we all will know where to go for pointers.
Best driver of the golf ball: Split decision. Lawrence High junior Logan Henrichs and Green drew equal support. Firebirds junior Lee York also was mentioned.
“Alex hits a 3-wood as far as I hit my driver,” Firebirds junior Colin Becker said of Green, who once this season reached a par-5 with a driver followed by a gap wedge. “I’ve seen Logan reach a 620-yard par-5 in two using an iron on his second shot.”
Green proves spending big bucks on equipment isn’t necessary to hit the long ball. His driver is a Bazooka Tour Edge, his ball of preference a Precept Laddie.
Top putter: Free State sophomore Wilson Hack barely edged senior teammate Jake Sakumura. Henrichs and Lawrence High freshman Jesse Ohtake also were mentioned more than once, and Becker and Lions sophomore Brett Van Blaricum drew a vote apiece.
Asked to offer a putting tip, Sakumura said, “A lot of people get really wristy with their putter. I’d say pendulum from shoulders down. Also, accelerate through the ball. A lot of people decelerate, and that throws it off line. Less of a backswing, more of a follow-through usually works.”
Max Soto said of Hack, his classmate: “Deep into the summer it gets to the point where anything inside 15 feet is automatic, it seems like. He doesn’t miss.”
Most skilled sand player: Free State junior Levi Baker. “The other day at Eagle Bend, he dropped three balls in the sand and got up and down on all of them,” York said.
Becker and Freshman Narito Mendez of LHS also received votes.
Best short game: No consensus of opinion here, but Becker, Henrichs, Van Blaricum and York all draw mentions.
The skills of the city’s best golfers will be on display Wednesday at Alvamar public in the final leg of the three-round Sunflower League tournament. The majority of Lawrence parents there will encourage players from both city teams.