SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP – For one Lima Junior Golf Association Player of the Year, receiving that award Monday was the completion of a summer-long search.
For the other, not so much.
After Carter Bowman won the boys 16-18 division at the LJGA’s Tournament of Champions at the Shawnee Country Club on Monday, he said he had set his sights on being Boys Player of the Year.
But Girls Player of the Year Emily Knouff said winning that award was something she hadn’t given much thought to.
“I set out this year saying I wanted to win the Player of the Year,” said Bowman, a junior at St. Marys. “I played in the 14-15 age group last year and did well. I was playing well at the beginning of the year, so I thought Player of the Year this year.”
Knouff said she took a different approach. “I really never thought about that. It was always just playing for fun,” the Fort Loramie freshman said.
Bowman shot a 78 to win the boys 16-18 division on Monday for his third LJGA win of the season to go with two second places and two third places. He finished strong with a 36 on the back nine, including an eagle at No. 16, after shooting a 42 on the front nine.
In the girls 16-18 division, Kelsey Koesters, of Coldwater, repeated as the Tournament of Champions winner after she shot an 83. Knouff was runner-up with a 91.
Knouff (eight wins) and Koesters (four wins) were the only golfers to win a tournament in the girls 16-18 division.
Bowman and John Copella, with a 79, were the only golfers in the boys 16-18 division to break 80.
As usual in the Tournament of Champions, the speed and well-concealed breaks in the Shawnee Country Club greens raised many of the scores.
“Oh man. They were quick. They were a lot faster than any other green I’ve played this year. They were true but miss it and you’re way past and you’re in trouble,” Bowman said.
“But I had only two 3-putts and had a couple 1-putts. You have to get used to them and, hopefully, you knock them in,” he said.
Koesters said, “I just tried to get the first one close, somewhere where I could make the next one. I was just glad to get into the 80s after I had a seven on the second hole. I just tried to putt a little better and hit more greens.”
Knouff said the greens required some adjustments. “Everything was kind of fast, different than what I was used to, but you have to get used to it sometime,” she said.
Joshah Rager won the boys 14-15 division with an 81 and Parker Frey was second with an 86.
Jill Schmitmeyer led the girls 15-and-under division with a 49 and Alivia Koenig was runner-up with a 50.
In the boys 12-13 division, Jared Hernandez (44) and Austin Radcliff (46) were the top finishers. Radcliff defeated Jacob Black in a playoff.
The top golfers were honored with a dinner Monday night. Miami Valley Country Club head pro Doug Wade, a Lima Central Catholic graduate who played in last year’s PGA Championship was the speaker at the awards dinner.