Local golfers qualify for nationals


The annual Optimist International Junior Golf Championship Midwest Qualifier took place last week at Red Tail Golf Course in Decatur, with several locals competing.

Jaden Smith

In the ages 14-15 division, Waterloo High School golfer Jaden Smith placed second with a 36-hole score of 157 to qualify for the national tourney taking place July 19-24 at Doral Golf Resort in Miami, Fla. 

Smith, one of the top returning golfers for WHS this coming season, shot an 80 in the first round and a 77 in the second round.

In the ages 16-18 division, recent Gibault Catholic High School graduate Ryan Kruse placed second with a 36-hole score of 143 (-1) to qualify for the national tourney taking place July 24-29 at Doral. 

Ryan Kruse

Kruse finished just one shot behind the leader following bogeys on his final two holes in windy conditions. 

“It was tough today,” Kruse said after the tourney on Friday.

Kruse, who will play golf next season at Quincy University, said he was familiar with the course at Red Tail because be competed in the same tourney a couple of years ago.

Other locals who competed in the ages 16-18 division of the Midwest Qualifier included Gibault golfers Ryan Bollinger (fifth place at 157), Ian Bollinger (seventh place at 161) and Trey Fabie (12th place at 186) and WHS golfer Cooper Sandheinrich (10th place at 173).

The Optimist International Junior  Golf Championship is one of the largest and well-renowned junior golf tournaments in the world for boys and girls ages 10-18.

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