Top three finishers in N-O golf championship all share baseball roots
Wilson, Krieger and St. Louis take the trophies at Willowbrook
By Kevin Prise Medina Journal-Register
Brad Wilson, John Krieger and Alonzo St. Louis all entered yesterday’s Niagara-Orleans League golf championship sharing one unique characteristic: they are dual varsity athletes in golf and baseball.
Now, the trio has another honor to share: earning a trophy for finishing in the top three yesterday at Willowbrook.
Wilson took medalist honors with an 18-hole score of 79, while Krieger’s 81 was good for second, and St. Louis’ 83 took third. Wilson and St. Louis helped Barker capture the team title for the third consecutive season, while Krieger led Albion to a sixth-place finish.
Wilson wasn’t particularly ecstatic about his score at the conclusion of the round, and Barker coach Tim Daley said it’s an indication of the humble nature of his star sophomore, who is also one of the Raiders’ top pitchers come springtime.
“You talk to him, and he’s just a humble kid,” Daley said. “From the time he started playing, he just works hard and plays as much as he can in the summer so that he shows up in the fall ready to play. He’s not just a great golfer, but a great person. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Wilson shot 41-38 at Willowbrook’s North and South courses on Thursday, and said that precise chipping and getting the ball up-and-down were the keys to his illustrious round, as well as rebounding from a self-described horrible drive on the 17th hole to finish strong.
Krieger’s round of 81 was even more impressive considering some of the big numbers he put up: a triple bogey at the fifth hole after he hit an approach into the water and skulled a chip shot over the green, along with two double bogeys.
But the Purple Eagles stalwart put up plenty of pars to nullify the big numbers, in a round that was bolstered by consistent play off the tee and a solid short game. Although he was happy with the runner-up trophy, Krieger said he was kicking himself a little bit for the shots that got away.
“I didn’t have an exact number in mind, but I was probably hoping for something in the 70s, so I’m a bit disappointed,” Krieger said. “A lot of putts lipped out that could’ve went in, ten-to-fifteen footers that I missed, so it’s a little frustrating. I could name probably five holes that I could’ve got those two strokes on, but that’s golf, definitely.”
For St. Louis, the third-place showing marked a milestone in steady improvement as a golfer that started when he picked up the game as a middle-schooler, under the guidance of his grandmother. The two started by playing the ladies tees at Niagara-Orleans Country Club and the Newfane Pro-Am Par 3 course, until Alonzo insisted on playing further back.
St. Louis was happy with certain parts of his round, like draining a 20-footer for birdie on a par-3 hole and lipping out an approach shot on a par-4 for a tap-in birdie — along with the ability to avoid a three-putt — but said he wished he could have hit his long irons better. He also suffered a bad break on a dogleg-left par-5 hole, when he hit a solid drive that hit a tree root and bounced into the water.
Wilson, Krieger and St. Louis all finished with stroke averages inside the N-O top eight last year, which rewarded them with entry into the Section VI tournament at Diamond Hawk in the spring. Sectionals pose a conflict, of course, with the baseball season.
Final averages have not yet been calculated for this season (the league uses a formula that adjusts for different levels of course difficulty), but all three will again be in the top eight and eligible for play at Diamond Hawk come May.
And despite the challenges of adjusting from baseball’s demands for a round of golf, all three have the fullest intentions of teeing it up at sectionals, in hopes of becoming the first Niagara-Orleans League players to advance to the state tournament in quite some time.
“Definitely looking forward to sectionals,” Krieger said. “It’s tough in the spring baseball season, trying to get back into the golf swing, but I’m going to try to do some training over the winter and get the swing going if possible.”
“Gotta play at sectionals,” Wilson added. “It’s a good time, for sure.”
2013 Niagara-Orleans League Golf Championship Top 10 Finishers