FORT WAYNE – Chase Ellsworth looks back on competing at the 2012 IHSAA state golf finals as a positive event, even if he finished tied for 22nd at 11 over.
I thought it was a neat experience, the Bellmont junior said. I wasnt expecting to get there, but it worked out and it happened. It played a big part in giving me experience moving forward, so that I wont be so nervous when other big tournaments present themselves.
Ellsworth shot a 3-over 75 and an 80 at The Legends of Indiana last year in Franklin – he was the only player from Bellmont to qualify for the state finals – and it has put something of a target on his back.
People started expecting me to play better this season, but you take it hole by hole and match by match, he said. You have to have fun and dont have big expectations, or youll have a bad round.
If you think Ellsworth sounds easygoing, youd be correct.
Last year, it was a surprise that he made the state finals, but hes laid back and doesnt let things get to him, coach Kyle Eichenauer said, adding that Ellsworth is normally able to get over a bad hole and has averaged 39 per nine-hole match this season.
If he has a double bogey or something, he shakes if off. He doesnt let it bother him the rest of the round. He recovers quickly.
But there has been some inconsistency for Ellsworth – and the entire Bellmont team – this season and the Braves are trying to get it together for the sectional Saturday at Timber Ridge in Ossian.
On Wednesday, Ellsworth shot a 79 there.
Thats one stroke better than he shot in the 2012 sectional, when the team took second place, setting him up for his run to the state finals.
In the 2012 regional at The Players Club in Muncie, Ellsworth posted a 2-over 74, tying him for third among individuals on non-advancing teams; Bellmont placed fifth with a 318.
Ellsworth also plays football – he is a fullback, linebacker and kicker – and it can be tough managing the expectations of coaches in both sports, who want him on the driving range, or in the weight room, or at football camps, or on junior golf tours.
But, again, hes easygoing.
He hits the ball pretty long, Eichenauer said. Last year, he did putt a little better than he has been this year, but his strength is ball-striking and his mental game.
Ellsworth, 17, said he has been focusing on improving his game from 100 yards and in this year.
If he can get it together, he could find himself back at the state finals and realize his dream of playing in college, since not too many players can boast two individual qualifications for the state finals.