While the rest of Hillcrest preps for fall athletics 8th grader Noah Chase finally ended his golf season this weekend at the state meet. The only member of Hillcrest's golf team, Chase continually outshot competitors throughout the season, joking that he is always Hillcrest's top scorer. With golf bag in tow Chase ventured to Pebble Creek golf course in Becker, Minnesota to close his season.
Chase is a student of golf. After falling in love with the sport hitting a hole in one shot with his grandfather when he was 8 years old, Chase has since worked on his game continually at Balmoral golf course near his home. He knows the course like the back of his hand, but has relentlessly worked on difficult shots to prepare himself for the challenges he faced against a high school competitors as a pre-teen junior high student.
Noah earned the bid to the State golf meet after practicing with Ottertail Central's golf team. He worked to secure rides to golf meets with the team and out shined most of his carpool friends. In the first day of the Section 6A meet to earn a trip to State, Noah shot an 83, five strokes out of first place. He was holding down fourth place, knowing the next day of the Section meet would require more focus and more attention to earn a ride to Minneapolis to compete with the state's best. He retained his pace the second day, shooting an 84, marching to grab his fifth place medal and a ticket that was punched for a trip to Becker, Minnesota to represent Hillcrest at the state golf meet.
Noah was a young representative at the State meet that held 80 competitors. Noah packed up his 8th grade text books and plopped himself behind his computer when the final bell rang in Hillcrest's hallways marking the start of summer vacation. Noah's computer screen was locked on the Pebble Creek course as he looked at a schematic and map for the State meet. He studied the hazards, looked at the fairways, and noted the boundaries. His mental preparation is prodigious for such a young student. Study skills started to fall into place as he shot a number of rounds of golf before practicing at the Pebble Creek course.
In Noah's first round of competition his nerves seemed to get the best of him. A 47 is not Noah's best score, and he knew it. His determination settled his hands for the back nine of his first round, looking to close the day on a high note. His shots dropped with more precision after his first 9 holes, and his club selection changed. He closed the final 9 holes with 43 strokes, shooting an even 90 on the challenging course.
When the sun rose on the second day of the tournament Noah walked with more confidence. Remembering the schematic of Pebble Creek he studied for weeks on his computer, Noah took care of his shots with greater precision. He shot a 45 on the front 9, knocking off 2 strokes from his performance 24 hours earlier. Between the front and back it seemed like Noah was purely focused on golf as his family cheered. According to family members he was wondering where the family would eat dinner. Noah's sense of humor allows him to rise above other golfers on the course. He has a unique focus that keeps him rolling even after having a poor performance at a hole.
In both of his second rounds in both days of competition Noah shot better. Noah's second day earned him a 2 stroke better performance than the previous day, and his back nine the second day had him knock off one stroke, finishing the second day shooting 45 in the opening 9 and 42 on the back. His 89, coupled with his 90 in the first day of the tournament, earned him a spot in the top 53 golfers at the State Class A meet.
The state meet carried a host of junior high students competing with other high school students. While many shot well, Noah's performance is wholly unique as he is the only member of his golf team. His work on the links is likely to build momentum for a Hillcrest golf program that has had a nearly 20 year drought in state competition. With the support Noah received from his family this season it is easy to see Noah making more trips to Minneapolis for golf competition.