The Cyclones have three open spots with five young golfers competing to fill the varsity roster.
“Competition brings out the best in everybody,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. “It could change from week to week. The key for us is to find that fourth golfer that can shoot in the mid-80s consistently. So far, we have some kids stepping up. We have some freshmen that can play a little golf. That is good to see.
“It is up in the air. That is the beauty about golf is they go out and determine who is going to be your top six. It is very easy to flip that around.”
Ottawa has three returners from last year in Parker Olmsted, Trey Rich and Quentin Blaue.
“They are good golfers,” McCullough said. “They are seasoned golfers. I know they are looking forward to the season. Tyler Kaub has come in with some really nice scores.
“We have always had a good nucleus of kids. We have two juniors and a sophomore that will be leaders on our golf team. We are going to be solid for the next couple of years. Since we are talking about a junior and a bunch of freshmen, two or three years from now they are going to have that experience.”
McCullough has kept things low key through the early part of the preseason.
Ottawa opens the season April 7 at the Gardner Invitational.
“We are going to be so young on the bottom end,” McCullough said. “Things are so interchangeable in golf. You go out and compete and let the chips fall in where they may. You can play the hot hand.”
Ottawa has been competitive in most tournaments and is always one of the teams in the running for a state spot. The top two finishers in the regional qualify as a team for state.
McCullough said Ottawa has come up short in the regional the past couple of years.
“We have under achieved at times,” he said. “This is definitely a team that has that goal. With those three, we are capable of making a run. Expectations are to take the team to state. We have not done that the last couple of years. Hopefully, our experience pays off.”
But the trick is to have four golfers playing well at the same time.
“It is very hard,” McCullough said. “There is a lot of pressure involved. The key is how we handle it. In golf, you have to have a short-term memory. You have to look to the next hole or next hit. We did not do that very well last year.”
Ottawa plays a rigorous schedule that includes the Hayden Invitational.
“We hit it hard in the month of April,” McCullough said. “We will play a competitive [schedule]. We are going to play at great courses that will get us prepared for the postseason. State is at Firekeeper in Topeka. It ranks very high in Kansas.”