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Freshman players bolster Baldwin golf team

| Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, 10:45 p.m.
Baldwin golfer Keith Reed returned for the 2017 season.
Baldwin golfer Keith Reed returned for the 2017 season.

Coach Steve Sinning has high hopes for the future of the Baldwin golf team thanks to the influx of outstanding freshman prospects into the program this season.

“I am certainly excited with the direction the program is heading,” Sinning said. “The freshmen all started together at a middle school golf clinic that I ran in the golf room late last fall, and they have been with me ever since. I couldn't have asked for a better crew.”

Four of the freshmen — Chace Hale, Connor Woods, Hunter Kozlowski and Keith Reed — will have had varsity playing experience by the time this season ends.

Hale and Woods have been golfing with Baldwin's varsity team this season; Kozlowski and Reed have been competing with the junior varsity squad.

“Chace and Connor have really helped the varsity team,” Sinning said. “Keith and Hunter are my No. 1 and No. 2 guys on JV. They will eventually get some varsity experience.

“They are great examples of what can happen if you put in the time during the offseason. Some of them had never played in a real event before, and all of them have shot scores under 45 this year.”

Sinning offered the following about each golfer:

Chace Hale — “Chace puts up the most consistent scores, and his varsity score is usually counted among the top five. Chace really loves the game of golf. As a freshman, he was thrown into a varsity role and has handled all of the pressure very well. His work all winter and his participation in the Tri-State Isaly's Junior Golf Tour dramatically increased his ability level.”

Connor Woods — “Connor has played varsity golf all season and has been in and out of the top six. The experience on the varsity team will be extremely valuable next year as he heads into his sophomore season.”

Hunter Kozlowski — “Hunter has a pure golf swing. Once he gets a little stronger, he will be a very good varsity golfer. His experience playing against the best JV teams will also improve his confidence. He will get some time with varsity as the year comes to a close.”

Keith Reed — “Keith just has a knack for knowing how to play. He clearly enjoys the competition element to high school golf. His short game is probably the most polished among the freshman. Like Hunter, he will see some varsity action as the season ends.”

Other members of Baldwin's junior varsity team are seniors Lucas Smith and John Dickson, sophomore Andy Degenhardt; and three additional freshman prospects in Dylan Stokes, Zane Wooddell and Elana Zandier.

Stokes and Wooddell also participated in the golf clinic last fall. Zandier joined the Baldwin golf program after attending St. Gabriel.

Sinning noted that seniors rarely participate on the JV team at Baldwin, but both he and junior varsity coach Chris Crighton welcomed Smith and Dickson to the program this season.

“This is the first year for both Lucas Smith and John Dickson,” Sinning said. “They are seniors on the JV team, which isn't something that we like to do. But both players really showed interest in learning the game. Both have come along way since tryouts in August.”

The Highlanders' junior varsity team is having an outstanding season, with six wins in its first eight matches.

“We have been led by Keith and Hunter, who have shot in the mid-40s consistently,” Crighton said. “We are very excited about having a great core of young golfers that we will have in the program playing together for four years. They will have the varsity team in contention for section titles in the coming years.”

Baldwin's varsity golf team consists of seniors Gary Lowman, Scott Borman, Noah Knerr and Matt Dziadyk; junior Tommy Ahlin, sophomore Matt Fediaczko, Hale and Woods.

Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.

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