Strong 1-2 punch for Blair Oaks

As Falcons start golf season

The Blair Oaks Falcons enter the golf season with as potent a 1-2 punch as you’ll find in the area.

Any potential team success this season will be finding players behind the duo of Kory Franks and Tanner Elder.

“We’re looking for some consistency from the other varsity players,” Falcons coach Leroy Bernskoetter said as Blair Oaks prepares for today’s opener at Eldon. “They have a bad hole or two and it seems to take them a little while to shake it off.”

Elder finished in a tie for second at the Class 2 state tournament last year, while Franks was ninth. Earlier in the postseason, Franks claimed the individual district crown, with Elder taking third as the Falcons won the district team title.

“Those two are obviously going to carry us,” Bernskoetter said. “Kory has been playing for so long, you hardly ever see him hit the ball badly. Tanner has great tempo and a great swing, he always keeps his composure and nothing bothers him on the course.”

“They work so hard at it. When we get done with practice, they’re almost always sticking around to work on their chipping and their putting. They understand the game.”

The Falcons, who are entering their third year as a program, missed on going to state as a team last year by two strokes.

“We had a bad day, not an average day,” Bernskoetter said. “We just need average days out of a couple of guys and we should be OK. If we can get a couple of kids in the low 90s to be consistent, we’ll be sitting pretty good.”

Corbin Singer, an all-district performer last year, and Austin Moreland are in their third year with the program. They will be joined on the varsity by freshman Jake VanRonzlen.

“Jake’s probably been the most consistent player we’ve had in practice behind Kory and Tanner,” Bernskoetter said.

The Falcons have a total of 12 players on the roster.

“We’ve got a mix of some veterans and some younger ones who are looking to pick up the sport,” Bernskoetter said. “Twelve is a good number, we didn’t have to cut anybody and everybody is going to get a chance to play and pick up some good experience.”

In an effort to get more consistency, Bernskoetter has instituted a “five-second’ rule.

“If things go bad, you can’t let it carry over to the next hole,” he said. “So you have five seconds to think about it and then you move on.”

The competitive side of the game is new to a lot of the players.

“Not a lot of these players have played in tournaments,” Bernskoettter said. “It’s a lot different playing with strangers than it is with your buddies.”

One player Bernskoetter isn’t worried about when it comes to a competitive side is senior LeeAnn Polowy. Out for the first time for golf, the multiple time all-state selection in basketball for the Lady Falcons is starting the season on the junior varsity.

“She’s obviously very athletic and very competitive,” Bernskoetter said. “She hasn’t played very much, but she will give you the best she’s got and she’s athletic and has a good golf swing.”

One schedule highlight is that Blair Oaks will host the eight-team Tri-County Conference Tournament for the first time. The Falcons will also play in the Helias Invitational, the Capital City Invitational and the Southern Boone Invitational.

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