By DOUG DONNELLY
Austin Fauser wasn’t worried about where he would finish in this weekend’s Division 3 state golf meet. Instead, he focused on shooting a number.
“I knew what I wanted to shoot and I shot it, so I’m happy,” the 16-year-old Clinton Redskin golfer said.
That number – a stunning 139 – earned him the Division 3 state golf championship, the first ever for Lenawee County or the TCC. He won by four strokes, helping Clinton to a sixth-place finish as a team.
“He deserved it,” Redskin coach Nito Ramos said. “He played lights out. When he came in and that number went up on the board – 139 – the crowd was kind of stunned, like ‘what?’ It was unbelievable. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Fauser took up golf before he was 3 years old but didn’t start entering tournaments until he was 10.
“I played baseball until I was 10, but my arm sort of gave out,” he said. “That’s when I turned to golf.”
The move has paid off in a big way. Fauser finished in the top 10 last year at the state meet after shooting a 76 on the first day. This year he carded a 69 on Friday and 70 on Saturday at Forest Akers East in East Lansing.
“The course was tough today,” Ramos said. “It was windy and the greens were dried out. It didn’t matter the way he played.”
Fauser said he didn’t feel any pressure despite entering the second day of the tournament with a one-shot lead.
“I was playing with a lot of great golfers and I knew coming in that some might be better than me, but I just wanted to go out and do what I can do,” Fauser said.
He had six birdies Saturday, plus two bogey’s and a double bogey.
“With the wind, I knew I just had to hit the ball straight and get it to the green and putt,” Fauser said. “That’s what I did.”
Clarkston Everest Collegiate won the state championship with a 629 aggregate score. Clinton shot a 668.
In addition to Fauser’s 139, Jonathan Kersey (88-80=168), Garrett Ramos (88-93=181), Nick Shonter (87-95=182) and Hunter Mellinger (96-93=189) also figured in Clinton’s day.
“It was a great day,” Ramos said. “We finished as the top public school for the second year in a row. There were a lot of strong teams there.”
Clinton was fifth last year in the Division 4 meet.
Moreneci’s Nate Smith fired a 157 and Whiteford’s Connor Lenhart shot a 162.