All-Area: Chase Koepka, boys Golfer of the Year
Saturday, December 18, 2010
by Paul Ivice
Cardinal Newman junior golfer Chase Koepka earned a reputation for consistency this season in a sport that requires it more than most,
"I never had to worry about what he'd shoot," Crusaders coach Toby Hill said. "He never shot over 75 all season."
Koepka's 35.95 scoring average per nine holes led Cardinal Newman, no small feat when the fourth and fifth players on the Crusaders averaged 37.5.
As Cardinal Newman won the district, regional and state titles, Koepka continued that consistency, shooting 74, 75, 69, 75. The 69 in the first round at state - matching freshman teammate Sawyer Shaw's score - helped the Crusaders open a 10-shot lead. They won the tournament by nine strokes.
When Cardinal Newman won by 31 strokes at the 36-hole Qdoba Tournament of Champions - an invitational in Polk County featuring the top five teams from last year's Class 2A tournament and the top three teams from the 1A tourney - Koepka was the tournament medalist with rounds of 69 and 65.
Koepka said that after finishing third last season at state and watching Benjamin win the title, "We had our minds set on that at the beginning of the year, to all stay focused on what we had to do."
Hill said: "This year, they went in trying to prove themselves because last year they thought they could have won."
The Crusaders had both strength at the top and depth.
"We had seven guys on our team that recorded an under-par score during the season," Koepka said. "We pushed each other to do better, because if you had a bad round, you might lose your spot.
"You could go out one day and shoot 38 and be overtaken by the No. 7 guy."
But while the Crusaders were playing against each other, they also were playing for each other, Koepka said.
To be a good team player, he added, "You really have to try to control what you think might be best for you and what's best for the whole team."
BOYS FIRST TEAM
Will Davenport, Martin County, Senior
Led Tigers to eighth place in Class 2A finals and tied for third as individual.
Sawyer Shaw, Cardinal Newman, Freshman
Was low medalist on state Class 1A champs and tied for sixth as individual.
Conor Richardson, Cardinal Newman, Junior
Finished tied for eighth place at the Class 1A state finals.
Austin Powell, Cardinal Newman, Senior
Replaced injured teammate and solidified Crusaders' No. 5 spot.
Derron Peyton, Park Vista, Junior
Three 73s in post-season, including win at regional, and qualified for state.
Mike Manceri, St. Andrew's, Senior
Finished third in Region 7 and tied for 26th in Class 1A finals.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Toby Hill, Cardinal Neman
In two seasons with Hill as coach, the Crusaders have a Class 1A state championship and a third-place finish.
BOYS SECOND TEAM
Dominick Vennari, Martin County, sophomore
Josh Lieberman, Spanish River, junior
Donnie Smith, Martin County, junior
Richard Donegan, Okeechobee, junior
Kyle Perettine, Pope John Paul II, senior
Clancy Waugh, Benjamin, sophomore