September 1, 2014

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High school golf: Aussem’s top goals: Play smart, contend

AVON LAKE — Brendan Aussem believes he learned something valuable at last week’s Division I district golf tournament and he hopes it will pay dividends for him at the state tournament at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.

It wasn’t the mostly steady way he played in shooting a 2-over 74 at Red Hawk Run in Findlay, however, and it wasn’t the way he reached down deep to hit a clutch shot out of deep rough to save par after nearly losing his ball on the first playoff hole.

No, the Avon Lake junior is taking his lessons from the triple bogey he made at the 11th hole that nearly cost him a third straight trip to state.

It’s the foundation of his game plan for the tournament which begins today.

“The goal is to not get anything over a bogey, to limit my bogeys and avoid stupid results,” Aussem said. “I like to be aggressive all the time, but there’s smart aggressive and stupid aggressive.”

Aussem, who made his first trip to state as an individual his freshman year and also made it last year when the Shoremen qualified as a team, classifies the triple bogey he made at districts as “stupid aggressive.”

Aussem started the hole with the right mind-set, taking a safe club off the tee to find the fairway. Unfortunately he didn’t hit it very well and was left with some 200 yards to the green. Facing a bad lie and needing to clear a lake in front of the green, Aussem threw caution to the wind and went for broke.

He made the wrong kind of splash with the shot and suffered the consequences.

“I should have laid up and taken my bogey,” he said.

Easy to say, not always so easy to do, but Aussem seems committed to dialing it back a notch this weekend when needed.

Don’t be fooled though. Aussem doesn’t plan to play it safe this weekend, just smart. After all, he believes his game is clicking at just the right time.

“I’m feeling confident,” he said. “My swing’s feeling the best it’s felt all year. I’ve been confident all year, but I have more confidence now than I have all year.”

It’s been a confidence-inspiring season, that’s for sure. Aussem has averaged 74 for 18 holes, while sprinkling in a few rounds in the 60s, and has had only two rounds in the 80s.

That kind of consistency has Aussem believing he’s got a better chance to contend at state this year than he might have his previous appearances.

“Freshman year I was just seeing what it was all about,” said Aussem, who shot an 86 to tie for 56th in a tournament reduced to one round because of rain. “It was tough. I was kind of nervous.”

Last year his goal was to finish in the top 20, but he shot 82-83 to tie for 35th.

Avon Lake coach Amy Manco knows Aussem’s a much different player than the freshman she watched try to tackle the daunting Scarlet two years ago.

“One thing is he’s just a lot stronger,” Manco said. “He hits the ball a ton. The physical changes are amazing. When he was a freshman the length of that course really challenged him. … I think he’s a lot more confident now, too. When he was a freshman it was the glory of being there. Now it’s let’s go down there and win this thing.”

“I put a lot of hard work and dedication into it,” he said. “I expect results.”

Players of the week

Titsworth

Beau Titsworth, St. Ignatius (Avon Lake resident)

  • YEAR: Senior
  • WHAT HE DID: Won the Division I district tournament with a 5-under-par 67 at Pine Hills to qualify for his fourth state tournament while leading the Wildcats to their fifth straight trip as a team.
  • BIO: Finished second at state last year, three shots out of first, after tying for sixth as a sophomore. Didn’t begin his high school season until Sept. 11 because he was playing in a pair of prestigious junior tournaments, but has shot 68, 68, 74 and 67 with two wins and two seconds since rejoining the Wildcats. Ranked 88th in the country in the Polo junior rankings. Won the Cleveland Junior Open by 14 shots on his home course, Red Tail, over the summer after blitzing the field with an opening 8-under 64.
  • INTERESTS: Enjoys fishing and just generally being outdoors. Doesn’t like to sit around, though does enjoy playing video games in the winter. Likes to work out and hang out with friends.
  • FAVORITE PRO GOLFERS: Anthony Kim, Tiger Woods, Johnny Vegas, Nick Watney, Matteo Manassero
  • FUTURE PLANS: Will attend Oklahoma University next year on a golf scholarship. Undecided on a major but will likely study something in business.
  • PARENTS: Todd and Staci

Aussem

Brendan Aussem, Avon Lake

  • YEAR: Junior
  • WHAT HE DID: Shot a 2-over-par 74 at the Division I district tournament at Red Hawk Run in Findlay and then won a sudden-death playoff for the second and final state-qualifying spot.
  • BIO: The first Shoreman to make it to state three times, going last year when the team qualified and as freshman year as an individual. Won his spot in a playoff on the fourth hole as a freshman and on the third hole this year. Averaged 74 for 18 holes and 36.5 for nine.
  • INTERESTS: Enjoys woodworking, which is his favorite class in school. Also enjoys fishing, having made several trips to Canada to bass fish. Likes pike fishing as well. Enjoys the outdoors in general.
  • FAVORITE GOLFER: Phil Mickelson
  • FUTURE PLANS: Wants to play golf in college and really likes Kent State, though he is also attracted to several schools in the South and likes the idea of playing year-round. Thinking about studying business.
  • PARENTS: Scott and Vicki

Contact Kevin Aprile at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.