By Chris Chaney
The Northern Kentucky University’s move to Division I earlier this season was one of the main reasons why Amelia’s state qualifying golfer Jake Brinker chose to sign his National Letter of Intent with the Norse last week.
“The big thing was that it was close to home and the whole idea of them joining the Atlantic Sun (Conference) where I could play and compete down south,” Brinker said. “I can play good competition and play in good weather, so I won’t be in Cincinnati all the time.”
Brinker was the first state qualifier in the history of Amelia golf and was named as the Player of the Year in the Southern Buckeye Conference American Division this past season.
“Jake has really made our program stand out,” head coach Creed Cornett said. “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.”
Brinker advanced out of the sectional tournament as an individual with a round of 2-over par 74 at Glenview Golf Course on Oct. 2 and then punched his ticket to state a week later at Weatherwax Golf Course with a round of 3-over par 75 to clinch the fourth and final qualifying spot from the district.
Competing in his first state tournament, Brinker struggled a bit with the Scarlet Course at the Ohio State University, shooting rounds of 86-84 to finish in a tie for 44th.
Brinker leaves Amelia’s golf program in much better shape than he found it, something he owes to the support of the athletic department as well as his family.
“Going to state during my senior year, I had so much support from my friends and family,” Brinker said. “They had a huge impact and I just kept practicing and I have to give credit to my coach Creed Cornett and my athletic director (James Collins) for how I played this year because they got me to everything I needed to be at and gave me the practice facilities I needed to get better.”
The state qualification was a culmination of the hard work Brinker put in over the last three years from his first time stepping onto a golf course as a freshman to his last holed putt at the state tournament.
“The first time I ever stepped foot on a golf course my freshman year, I started off and had a lot of support from my family, but I wasn’t very good,” Brinker said. “I worked really hard and progressed. My grandparents were a huge factor (in my success). They sent me to tournaments throughout the entire country so that I could get better and that made the competition in the Greater Cincinnati area a lot easier.”
Brinker also credits the golf staff at NKU for making his decision that much easier.
“Coach Landrum had a big effect (on my decision),” Brinker said. “He’s a great guy and I loved the school from the first time I stepped on campus. “
Brinker plans to study psychology at NKU and hopes to become a sports psychologist following his time on the Norse’s golf team.