Just don’t bother looking for anything tie-dyed in the St. Ignatius senior and Avon Lake resident’s closet or expect him to sprinkle groovy or far out into his conversation.
No, his retro love is not about the Swinging ’60s but the scores his golf swing is once again producing.
It’s birdies not the Byrds that have him excited about his fourth trip to the Division I state golf tournament that begins today at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course and his chances to finally bring home a title.
“It was kind of unfamiliar territory,” Titsworth said when asked about the 5-under-par 67 he shot to win last week’s district tournament at Pine Hills Golf Club. “It’s good to know I didn’t lose the ability to put myself in that situation.”
He may have been the only one with any doubts. Ever since joining the Wildcats for the season’s stretch run after missing the first month or so while playing high-level junior tournaments, last year’s state runner-up has been on fire.
He came out blazing with a 3-under 68 in his first tournament of the season Sept. 11 at the St. Charles Invitational at Brookside Country Club near Columbus, the only downers being his having to settle for second after losing a playoff and the team finishing second as well despite shooting an impressive 3-over 287.
Titsworth and the Wildcats both got wins the next time out as his second straight 3-under 68 led the way at the Kiely Cup at Canterbury Golf Club.
He followed that with a 2-over 74 at sectionals at the Legacy Course at Sweetbriar — a round he said could have and should have been much better had he not struggled with the putter — and then his dazzling district performance.
But in Titsworth’s mind, it had been too, too long since he had one of those really magical rounds like the 8-under 64 he shot on the way to a 14-shot win in the Cleveland Junior Open at Red Tail, his home course, over the summer.
“That was my biggest downfall, not being able to go low,” the Oklahoma recruit said of his play in previous high school seasons. “I’d protect a score rather than try to make it better. You can’t score like that.”
His recent run has definitely cast him as a favorite to win the individual title he fell just three shots short of a year ago despite shooting a 3-over 147. As a sophomore, Titsworth tied for sixth after shooting a 76 in the tournament reduced to one round because of rain. He shot 84-84 as a freshman to tie for 29th.
“He’s absolutely more confident out there,” St. Ignatius coach Terry Hopkins said. “He just seems at ease. He has a great calm about him. He just knows he can find a way to get it in the jar. It’s fun to watch.
“The level of confidence is such that he doesn’t allow doubt to creep in there.”
So maybe, just maybe, this will be Titsworth’s year?
“He’s had a good year,” Hopkins said. “A good offseason. There’s no reason to believe he can’t get it done, but he’s got competition.”
Titsworth is feeling as good about his game as he has all season, saying he only recently “found his swing” again.
“I really didn’t find it until two weeks ago,” he said. “I kept noticing my posture was bad. Then I found out I was standing twice as far away from the ball as I should have been.”
He’s hoping being closer to the ball has brought him closer to achieving his season goals of bringing home individual and team state titles. The Wildcats, at state for a fifth straight time, were second last year and third the two seasons before that.
“I’d say we, as a team, have a mind-set that we’re going to win, that we should win state, but it hasn’t happened yet,” he said.
As for his own chances, he’s not taking anything for granted, no matter what his grandmother says.
“I think I have a pretty good chance,” he said. “My grandma’s in town and she says I have the best chance in the field, but I felt like that the last few years.
“It’s definitely not a given, but I think I’m definitely playing well enough to give it a run. … I’d like to win. I don’t expect to win, but I’d like to win.”
Contact Kevin Aprile at 329-7135 or ctsportschroniclet.com.