Hollabaugh, Waters finish 2nd, 3rd forTruckee High golf
Like Truckee boys golf coach Jeff Froelich would say, Wes Hollabaugh had the “birdie machine” going in the final regular season golf match at Lahontan Golf Club on May 13.
Hollabaugh sunk seven birdies in the first 15 holes and was shooting a five-under until he ran into some trouble on the final three holes.
“I was up a couple shots up, and then I choked,” a disappointed but content Hollabaugh said after finishing his round. “I had some bad shots in the hazards (on holes 17 and 18). I wanted to get in the 60s because I hadn’t been in the 60s (before).”
The junior golfer, who solidified his No. 2 Northern 3A individual ranking, finished with a two-under (70) after missing a short putt on 18 that allowed Fernley’s Matt Leestma to win the event by a stroke.
Hollabaugh looked as if he would knock off Leestma, the No. 1 seed in the Northern 3A, for only the second time in the 2004 season, but his mistakes on 16 and 17 turned out too costly, due to some errant shots off the tee.
“My driving wasn’t that great, but I did great on the greens,” said Hollabaugh, who shot par on the back nine and minus-two on the front nine.
With the state championships underway as of May 18, Hollabaugh sits at No. 2 ahead of teammate Kevin Waters. Waters shot a 76 at Lahontan and said the superb condition of the golf course probably aided Hollabaugh’s putting.
“Everything’s flush,” he said. “You can make putts if you hit it where you’re supposed to. On bad courses, you could hit it perfect, and it could take a bad hop and ruin your score.”
Unlike Hollabaugh, Waters struggled on the front nine and regained his composure on the back nine to finish strong.
“I didn’t hit a solid shot on the front nine,” said Waters, who finished No. 3 in the Northern 3A and admits he is not the most emotionally stable golfer on the course.
“I’m probably the angriest golfer there is,” he said. “I’ve broken a lot of clubs. I broke my putter the other day.”
Even though he might hate his putter at times, Waters said a birdie early on the back nine allowed him to break through the frustration and establish some confidence.
Waters, a senior who has played basketball and soccer in high school, respects the individuality of the game.
“I like it because it’s just me. There’s no one else to blame. It’s just me out there doing what I can do, and not the team,” he said.
The state championships will wrap up today in Mesquite, Nev., 80 miles north of Las Vegas and a 10-hour drive for the Truckee golf team. For Truckee, Hollabaugh, Waters, Greg Shove, Ian Casey, Matt Blesse and Tom Kokenge will be the six golfers vying to knock off last year’s champion Boulder City.
Leestma, who lost only one out of nine events, is the individual favorite.
Coach Froelich’s role
Jeff Froelich has been a coach in the Truckee boys golf program since 1972, with two prolonged stints away from coaching. But his presence has been continuous since 1998, and Froelich doesn’t plan to leave again.
“I will coach the golf team until either the day I expire or I quit teaching,” said Froelich, as he sat and waited for his golfers to finish their rounds at Lahontan. “It gives substance to me as a person outside the classroom.”
Because he has established longevity in the coaching staff, the program continues to flourish.
Truckee won eight out of nine matches as a team this season, finishing first in the Northern 3A and improving on last year’s second-place finish. Truckee also had the highest finish in state of any Northern 3A team in 2003, finishing third.
In 2004, Froelich’s team consisted of 22 players – 11 on both varsity and JV. In a golf season that is lucky to last five months, Froelich continues to provide ample opportunities for young Truckee golfers through the high school program.
For instance, even though only six will compete, Froelich took the entire varsity team to Mesquite.
“We’re a family,” he insisted. “I want those guys to go down there and share in the happiness and the pressure and the whole bit.”
Northern 3A boys golf standings
Team (place) Points
1. Truckee 80
2. Lowry 69
3. Dayton 60
4. Yerington 57
5. Bishop Manogue 46
6. Spring Creek 34
7. North Tahoe 32
8. Fernley 18
9. Rite of Passage 9
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.