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Nebraska high school champion competing against nation's best junior golfers

By NATHAN HEUER
Published on

VALLEY -- When champions take a loss, they find a way to bounce back.

That's exactly what Humphrey St. Francis' three-time state golf champion Trevor Kosch did.

After suffering a first-round upset as the No. 5 seed at the Nebraska Junior Match Play Championship on June 7, Kosch qualified for the Boys Junior PGA Championship in July with a two-round score of 142 at the Nebraska Junior PGA Championship held Thursday and Friday.

"I'm so excited. It's going to be an honor to just be able to play in that tournament," Kosch said.

After losing to Steven Strasheim of Lincoln East in the match play event, Kosch headed to the junior championship at Pines Country Club in Valley last week with hopes of getting back to the level he was playing at during the high school season.

"Match play was a bummer. To get a good seed and a bad draw like that and have to play a good player like that and lose first round, I didn't feel good after that tournament," Kosch said. "I didn't play good either really. Basically, I knew that's just the way golf is so I didn't let it get to me."

Kosch entered the junior championship with the same game plan he always has.

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"It's just going in trying to make pars. That's the way I play, I just try to make pars and if birdies come, they do," he said.

To start the tournament on Thursday, Kosch looked like he picked up where he left off at the match play championship, shooting 3 over par through the first three holes.

"I didn't hit a lot of fairways. To be completely honest, I was in the trees a lot. It was kind of a struggle," he said.

The rough start didn't get Kosch down for long as the Telegram Super Senior rebounded to join 2016 Class A state champion Luke Kluver of Norfolk as the only players who shot under par on the first day.

"I was trying to scramble a lot for pars and I was doing that really well. I didn't make a whole lot of putts," Kosch said.

Kosch entered Day 2 in second place after shooting a 3-under-par 69. Kluver fired a 4-under 68 on Thursday for a one-shot lead.

Jack Lundin of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, joined Kluver and Kosch in the final group Friday after carding a round of 72.

Norfolk's Kellen Rossman was also within striking distance as he shot a round of 72 on Thursday.

On Friday, Kosch qualified for the Boys Junior PGA Championship by firing a 1-over 73, which was good for a second-place finish with a final score of 142.

The accomplishment puts the soon-to-be University of Missouri-St. Louis golfer in elite company, as Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Stewart Cink, and Phil Mickleson all participated in the event when they were Kosch's age.

Kosch said the feat ranks right up there with his greatest accomplishments on a golf course.

"Don't get me wrong, those three state titles mean the world to me. That was awesome, but this is just a whole different level," he said. "I'm still in shock. This is what, two days later, and I'm still in shock that I'll be playing in the Junior PGA Championship. It's just so unreal to me."

The stage will be the biggest Kosch has played on during his golf career, something he plans on cherishing as he competes against some of the nation's top junior golfers.

"I know they're all going to be incredible players. Probably 9 percent of them will play on the PGA someday," he said. "I just want to go out and play as best as I can and take it as a learning experience."

Kluver won the Nebraska event as he was the only golfer to shoot under par on both days. He fired a 2-under-par 70 on Friday to put his final tally at 138.

Rossman and Tucker Knaak of Plainview finished tied for third with scores of 143.

Kosch and Kluver will represent the 16- to 18-year-old age bracket from the Nebraska Section of the PGA, which includes the western fifth of Iowa, a small portion of South Dakota and the entire state of Nebraska.

The pair will make their way to St. Albans, Missouri, for the 42nd Boys Junior PGA Championship to play against 142 other golfers.

The event is scheduled for July 31 to Aug. 3 at The Country Club of St. Albans, which is ranked as one of the top-10 courses in the state of Missouri by Golf Digest.

This article is written by NATHAN HEUER from Columbus Telegram, Neb. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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