By Chris Chaney
In golf, you’re told from a very young age that you are not competing against the person next to you, or the guy three groups ahead of you. It’s simply you versus the golf course.
This past weekend in Columbus at the Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course, Amelia’s Jake Brinker set out to do just that and the Scarlet proved to be quite a test. Brinker shot rounds of 86-84 for a weekend total of 170, which placed him in a tie for 44 in the state.
“(Jake) played his heart out,” Amelia head coach Creed Cornett said. “He played his best considering the wind and cold and rain that we had up there. It was a little bit longer of a golf course than he’s used to and there were 156 sand bunkers that surrounded the greens. It was a pretty tough golf course that he played on.”
Scarlet is a perennial top-25 golf course in Ohio according to Golf Digest’s yearly rankings, so to struggle on such a tough track is nothing of which to be ashamed.
Brinker, a four-year letter earner at Amelia, became the first golfer in Amelia’s history to qualify for the state tournament, which is something Cornett believes he should be proud of.
“It means everything. It’s the first time in Amelia’s history that we’ve had any golf athlete make it to state,” Cornett said of what the accomplishment means to the program. “Jake has really made our program stand out. He has really opened a lot of eyes in the community to look at our program. Our program is alive thanks to him. People are talking about our program and him going to state is the icing on the cake.”
During the state tournament, each of the 12 individual qualifiers — four from each district — also compete against the five members of the 12 qualifying teams, meaning the individual champion can be one of 72 players.
Brinker shot nine-hole rounds of 42-44 and 44-40 to put him right around the middle of the pack, well back of where Brinker had aspirations of finishing, but in a very respectable position.
“The way (Brinker) looks at it is that he is the 44th-best golfer in the state of Ohio, which is a very positive attitude to take from the experience,” Cornett said.
Moving forward, Amelia will be without their stud as Brinker graduates and hopes to move on to play at Northern Kentucky University, but Cornett hopes that other players will follow his lead.
“I still have a couple players on the team that are upcoming,” Cornett said. “With a little more practice there, I think we’ll still be competitive, but it’s going to be rough without Jake. He was the leader of the pack.
“We still have a few people on the team that have a lot of skills that can keep up in the league.”