DAJT golf returned to Galena’s Eagle Ridge Territory in the tour’s final start of the season. The North Course, while not as widely known as the neighboring General, is a narrow, tree-lined setup that requires precision from tee to green. Many players smartly opted for woods or irons of the tee as hitting fairways is crucial for success at the territory courses. Pressure mounted as the day wore on, and players on the cusp of the top 4 in the points standings were calculating their best trajectories for the Ryder Cup event.
Nick Splinter was a dark horse all year in the Boys 16-18 division. He finally broke through with a 1-under 35 on the back nine that lead to his round of 75 and the win. “I grinded all summer but I wasn’t really able to piece a good round together until now,” said Splinter. “It feels really good to get a win, and I hope that will carry me forward with some confidence into the high school season.” The Wahlert product was not the only winner in the family. His little sister, Addie, won the girls 10-11 division with a great round of 46. “I think I might have her still on the golf course, but I’m definitely going to have to work hard to keep it that way. I’m really happy for her,” said Splinter. Davis Stelzer and Max Naumann rounded out the top three with rounds of 77 and 82 respectively.
Maddy Streicher took the Girls 16-18 division crown with a round of 97. She bested Parker Stout’s 105. While she was not pleased, Streicher remained in good humor after her round. “I learned today that if you don’t hit it straight, it’s not easy to score,” she said. “Overall, I still have a lot of good things that happened this season. I just need to work on my short game,” said Streicher, who could possibly be making the jump to collegiate golf in the near future.
Will Coohey’s 77 gave him the victory in the Boys 14-15 division as well as the overall points crown. He was followed by Brock Wilson’s 79 and Jackson Webber’s 85. Coohey reflected on his proclivity to finish strong on the back nine. “I’m definitely a mental player so when the front didn’t go my way, I told myself to string some birdies together and get it going. Luckily that’s what happened,” said Coohey. The Wahlert standout is poised for a big high school season after a successful summer.
Kate Vaassen won the Girls 14-15 division with a solid round of 91. She was followed by McKenna Stackis’ 95. Vaassen wasn’t overjoyed with her round, as she has shot in the low 80’s and high 70’s all summer, but she was able to retain some positives. “I think this summer has shown me that I’m able to win golf tournaments and that I’m a better player than I give myself credit for. I’ve made some awesome memories playing all summer and it’s made me better,” said Vaassen.
Ben Dolter secured yet another victory with his 41 to clinch the Boys 12-13 championship. Barrett Reed made an appearance in the top two with a solid 46, and Brayden Webber finished with a 47 to secure third place. Dolter reflected on his breakout season and what he looks forward to in future rounds. “Its been crazy. I’ve changed so much over this summer. Not even physically but just how I work around the course and think through my shots. I just want to keep getting better every day,” said Dolter.
CeCe Ball won the Girls 12-13 division with a solid 49. She edged out Natalie Fangmann’s 56. Ball and Fangmann have competed all season for the points crown all season, with Ball being the eventual victor. Ball had an outlook that spanned beyond the standings. “I think the best part about the year was getting closer with Natalie and the girls. I’ve definitely become a better player too,” said Ball.
Callan Martineau capped off a stellar season in the Boys 10-11 division with his 1-over 37. Kieran Breslin showed a markedly improved form with his 38. Levi Johns rounded out the top three with another 38. Martineau won every event he entered this season, a dominant year that is telling of what is ahead. “I’ve had a lot of fun all season. I think that except for one tournament, I played up to my potential.
Addie Splinter continued her tear through the Girls 10-11 division. Her 46 beat out Kayleigh Smith’s 47 and Elin Mueller’s 49. Splinter came on strong at the end of the season, winning three consecutive tournaments. “It shows me that I need to keep practicing every day. This game has taught me perseverance and how to compete with great players,” said Splinter.
Points standings will be final with the conclusion of the DAJT regular season. The top four players from each division will qualify for the Fidelity Ryder Cup Event at Thunder Hills Country Club. Players will compete with team members in a partner best ball on the front nine and individual match play on the back nine.