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Zach Walsh looks toward future after satisfying junior season

By: Warren Mayes

Zach Walsh [second from right] with his fellow Red Devils. [Photo courtesy of Chaminade]

Chaminade junior Zach Walsh knew what he wanted to do at the Class 4 state boys golf tournament.

“Honestly, to win,” Walsh said. “I knew it was a course for me. Not too long and pretty narrow with small greens. It took a while to sink in that I almost won.”

Walsh shot a 141 in the event played at Swope Memorial Golf Course in Kansas City. He finished second to medalist Ross Steelman [136] of Rock Bridge.

Chaminade coach Jack Wilson was pleased with how Walsh performed at the state meet.

“Zach played extremely well,” Wilson said. “His poise and calm approach to the game is fun to watch. The one blemish on his card was the double bogey on the second day. That’s an amazing two days of golf.”

During the regular season, Walsh earned medalist honors in the Fort Zumwalt South Bulldog Battle. He fired a 3-under par 69 in 45-degree weather to win the 100-player, 25-team field that competed at Winghaven Country Club.

“Zach had a great round at the Bulldog Battle,” Wilson said.

Walsh, who in his sophomore season won the Webster Cup, was proud of the accomplishment in the Bulldog Battle.

“It was actually [played] on aerated greens,” Walsh said.

Bumpy, uneven greens present many unknowns for the short game but Walsh overcame them.

In the District 2 meet held at The Landings at Spirit Golf Club, Walsh finished tied for 10th with a 75 as Chaminade finished second to advance to the sectional. In the sectional at Westwood Hills Country Club in Poplar Bluff, Walsh tied for 12th place with a 77.

“Actually at sectionals, I felt like I played solid,” Walsh said. “I just couldn’t putt. The greens were tough.”

Going into the state tourney, Wilson had a good feeling about Walsh and how he would play.

“Knowing how well he shot at the Bulldog Battle and the incredible summer he had, we knew that it was only a matter of time before he would bust out another good round,” Wilson said.

Walsh did, indeed, bust out. In his first round at state, he shot a 67. That was good enough for a two-stroke lead and a milestone for Walsh.

“I had five birdies and no bogeys,” Walsh said. “I knew that if I get off to a good start, then good things will happen. It is my lowest-ever tournament round and lowest score in general.”

As the old saying goes, “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” That comes from Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Part 2,” written in the late 1500s. It’s doubtful Shakespeare ever played golf but he knows the human condition.

“… it was hard to sleep that night,” Walsh said. “I kept waking up. I was excited but when you lose a two-shot lead on the first hole because of an eagle hole out, it’s hard to cope with.”

Steelman grabbed the lead early. He holed out from 80 yards for an eagle. Walsh made a par on the first hole.

On the par-4, 317-yard second hole, Walsh finished with a double bogey. That allowed Steelman to move into the lead. He never relinquished it.

“One bad hole was the only blemish on an otherwise incredible round,” Wilson said. “A double bogey on No. 2 knocked him out of the lead, but he was able to settle down and play the remaining 16 holes very well.”

Walsh finished strong. He ended his final round by making a 17-foot putt for birdie.

“I played well. I just doubled the second hole and then ground it out from there,” Walsh said. He went on to record a 74 for his second round.

“It was, in a way, a dream come true,” Walsh said. “I knew that if I played my game good things would happen. The guy that beat me was just more experienced. I learned a lot. I’ll tee it up next year more experienced and he won’t be there.”

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