Marian's Michael Gottstein is serious about playing golf.
So serious in fact, that he went to the Junior Players Golf Academy in Hilton Head, South Carolina to hone his game during his sophomore year. Gottstein's dedication to the game certainly looks like it paid off. The Colt's senior took home the gold Monday afternoon in the Schuylkill League Boys Championships at Hidden Valley Golf Course.
The conditions weren't great for golf with a pretty stiff wind plaguing some swings. However, Gottstein still played a solid round, shooting a 76 which was good enough for the gold and was two strokes better than runner-up Bailey Roos from Pottsville.
"I came into today just trying to shoot par on the course," said Gottstein. "I always tell myself to just shoot par and usually that's good enough to win. It was kind of an up and down day for me to be honest. My driver saved me on a lot of holes. I was hitting the ball well off the tee and probably hit 12 out of 14 fairways on the day."
Gottstein and Roos played together in the top rated group with the two battling throughout Hidden Valley's 18 holes. Roos was right there with Gottstein all day until the 16th hole when Gottstein said he got a confidence boost that propelled him to the gold.
"I birdied the 16th and that's when I really thought for the first time all day that I had the win," said Gottstein. "Bailey is a great player and he was competing with me all day, but when I birdied the 16th I gained the confidence to finish strong."
Gottstein's teammate Mark Postupack also had a nice day at Hidden Valley finishing fifth overall, shooting an 82.
"I was able to keep the ball on the fairway for most of the holes," said Postupack. "I was able to move the ball up and down the greens pretty well too. I just try and tell myself to play solid golf when it comes down to these post season matches. I could've played better, but overall I went there and played pretty decent."
The Marian golf team turned in its third undefeated season in a row in Division 2 of the Schuylkill League this season thanks in large part to Gottstein and Postupack. Long-term Colts coach Len Brylewski is proud of the way his guys came out and competed.
"They really just did a beautiful job out there in this wind," said Brylewski. "Mike especially has been playing well all season. I'm really eager and excited to see him compete at the state level this year. With his game it's hard not to see him qualifying for the state tournament."
Tamaqua's Mike Weinert made the most of his day as well. Weinert shot a 79 and had to go three extra holes with Blue Mountain's Jimmy Dietz for rights for the bronze medal. Weinert's play improved as the day went on and he took down Dietz to claim third place.
"I started out rough, but with each hole I got better," said Weinert. "I shot the ball straighter and further as the day went on and I just tried to stay positive. Golf is a game where if you let your emotions get the best of you it could really hurt your score so I always try and stay calm out there."
Next up for the boys is the Schuylkill League Team Championship match on Sept. 26 at Hidden Valley in which Marian will compete for a title. Following that will be the District 11 Qualifier that will be held on Oct. 1 at Woodstone Country Club.
Schuylkill League Championships
1. Michael Gottstein 76 (Marian), 2. Bailey Roos 78 (Pottsville), 3. Mike Weinert 79 (Tamaqua), 4. Jimmy Dietz 79 (Blue Mountain), 5. Mark Postupack 82 (Marian).
Josh Green 89 (Marian), Troy Reinhardt 102 (Tamaqua), Brett Luiciana 104 (Jim Thorpe), Jake McGeehan 105 (Jim Thorpe), Matt Stanek 110 (Tamaqua), Alex Heydt 124 (Jim Thorpe).
Hidden Valley Golf Course Par 72