Unlike the temperatures this unseasonably cold spring, Carson Schaake’s golf scores have stayed in the 60s.
The Omaha Creighton Prep senior is a combined 18-under par in his first four tournaments of the season, with his scores ranging from 66 to 69. Next for the University of Iowa recruit is Thursday’s Capitol City Invitational state preview meet at Pioneers Golf Course in Lincoln.
“In terms of ball-striking, he couldn’t be any better right now,” Prep coach Morgan Helton said.
Schaake has been on the Junior Jays’ varsity since he was a freshman. He was Class A state champion last season after tying for 12th as a sophomore and 19th as a freshman.
Patience, he said, is responsible for most of his improvement since a year ago.
“Last year I felt I tried to force a lot of birdies. I’d put pressure on myself to make every 15- to 20-footer,” Schaake said. “Now I’m trying to two-putt those and go on to the next hole.
“This year, mentally I’m a lot stronger. I think my way through the golf course better. I’m more experienced. I want to win this year. I know how to play and I’ve play all these courses a lot, so I know where to hit it, where to miss it and still have a shot.”
Schaake’s college choice came down to the Hawkeyes and Oregon, where former tour pro Casey Martin is head coach.
Staying close to home was a factor, he said. So was going to a college that felt like Prep for its competitiveness in academics as well as on the course.
Iowa, and coach Mark Hankins, won out.
“After talking to coach Hankins, I felt he wanted to win more than coach Martin,” Schaake said. “I’ve been at a school where teammates are helping me get better and I felt Iowa has those kind of players.”
With the Junior Jays, Schaake gets a dose of college-level competitiveness. The defending state champion, heavily favored to repeat, has enough quality players on a 17-man roster that it could send a second five to the state tournament and finish high in the standings.
“Our practices seem more competitive than some of the tournaments,” Schaake said. “I have some great teammates to play against. Our 3-4-5 guys in the lineup battle it out in qualifiers just to be going to tournaments.”
In that group is Schaake’s brother, Alex, a freshman.
“He’s better than me in some aspects,” Carson said. “He’s a lot better putter.”
“We’ve always been competitive and it stays that way on the team. Coach doesn’t seem to pair us up a lot of practices. He want us to play with different players and that’s good. I’ll be gone and he needs to learn to play with other players.”
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