Consistency pays off for Andrews
Ben Andrews has been around golf courses almost all of his life.
His dad John and his uncle Jim are both golf pros so it was no surprise that the Palmerton junior started hitting a golf ball around when he was 2 years old.
Having been a big part of the Palmerton High golf team the past three years, Andrews made his first trip to states this past year, finishing his best high school season by shooting 77 on each day of the championship, held at Heritage Hills Golf Course and Resort in York, good enough for 24th place.
Andrews, who also finished third in the Colonial League tournament and second in the District 11 tourney, earned the honor of being named The 2010 TIMES NEWS Golfer of the Year.
This is the fourth year in a row that a Palmerton golfer earned the honor as Michael Englert won it in 2007 and 2009 and Dan Costenbader was the recipient in 2008.
"Golf has always been in my blood and whenever I need to know anything, I know I could ask my family because they've been playing for so long and their advice will really benefit me," he said. "I just kept playing from when I was young and built my game up from there. I remember playing in tournaments with my dad at his old club when I was 6 and 7 years old."
The season couldn't have gotten off to a better start for Andrews. He shot a 67 in the first match of the season at the bombers' home course, Blue Ridge Country Club.
"Ben is incredibly consistent," said first-year Palmerton head coach Dave Lavin. "You always know what you're going to get. You're going to get somewhere in the low 70s. During the season you can count that it's going to be below 75. There was only two times he went over 75 during the regular season and it was under terrible conditions.
"He helped the team a lot in a couple of our wins. You get a 90 score from one of your golfers and Ben hits the high 60s. It gives you an average in the mid 70s and it helps."
Andrews definitely has an amazing amount of potential.
"In one round he had a string of nine birdies," exclaimed Lavin. "At states, it was rainy and really windy, but Ben showed great composure out there. He had a couple of putts that didn't go his way and a couple of bounces that didn't go his way, but he managed to keep it together.
"One thing about Ben is you never know if he's shooting the round of his life or if he's shooting the worst round of his life. He never seems to get upset and that's what I'm most proud of and that's why it's a pleasure to coach him. He's really a gentleman and he really knows the etiquette of the game."
Lavin said that he and Andrews reflected on states after everything settled down and at first, Ben was a little disappointed because he didn't place because that was his goal.
"I know he's focused, I know he has some goals in mind for next year to put himself in position to score."
At states, in two days, he made two birdies, 12 bogeys and one double bogey. In the second round, Andrews hit nine fairways and 10 greens, but putted 35 times.
At the district tourney, Andrews shot a 2-under 70 and had a two-stroke lead after the first 18 holes at Silver Creek Country Club in Hellertown.
On the final nine holes, he shot a 39, while Northampton's Evan Notaro, who shot 72 to tie for second through the early round, fired a 1-under 35 in the late afternoon round to win by two strokes.
At the Colonial league meet, Ben made three birdies, four bogeys and one double bogey to finish 3-over par.
One of his goals entering the season was getting to states, but with the loss of golfers like Englert and Costenbader to graduation, he also wanted to help out the team's newcomers.
"I wanted to help the other kids," said Andrews. "I knew we had a young team and losing Mike and Dan, I just wanted to help benefit the team not just by playing, but helping my teammates with their swings and learning a little more about the game.
"I thought we played well and won more than most people thought we would and were in a lot of matches.
"Having Blue Ridge as our home course also makes it easier when we go on the road because it is such a tough course. You have to really stay consistent, strike the ball well and putt well."
Andrews will set sights on next season as soon as he finishes up the high school basketball season in late February and into March.
"I'm getting new clubs so I'll be working on my swing and getting stronger and watching the game more and seeing some of the new techniques I can learn," he said.
Needless to say, we probably haven't heard the end of Ben Andrews and hopefully next year, he'll not only make it to states again, but bring home a medal.