By Susan Jenior
Going to the state tournament is always a goal of high-school golfers.
Making a repeat trip back to state is special and often difficult to do.
Liam Curtis, a junior member of Kent Roosevelt’s varsity golf team, has already accomplished the latter, qualifying a second year as an individual for the OHSAA Division I boys state tournament playing this weekend in Columbus.
When Curtis was a sophomore, he fired back-to-back rounds of 80, good for 26th place at the state tournament.
“There is pressure, but also it is easier in the sense that I know what the atmosphere is at the state tournament,” said Curtis. “I’m older now and my expectations are higher.
“I practice everyday and stick to my routine,” Curtis added. “I practice mostly around here. I’m not a big fan of playing a lot and feel like I get more out of it practicing and putting.”
Playing golf, he said, is literally all he thinks about it.
“You have to really put in the work to make it,” he said.
His parents, Ben and Candace Curtis, are believers in him “doing my own thing,” offered Curtis.
Ben Curtis, coach of the Kent Roosevelt boys varsity golf team is Liam’s dad.
“Team golf is my favorite part of the year,” said Liam. “Team golf is so much different than playing in individual tournaments. Team golf, you have someone to play for other than yourself. You are playing for the team. Every shot counts.”
Liam didn’t start playing golf until seventh and eighth grade.
“I didn’t like golf until eighth grade then I started liking the game and practicing,” he explained.
That has changed.
Liam’s first tournament was the summer when he was going into eighth grade.
“I lacked experience, but I tried to put myself in positions to make up for that.”
His management of the course has continued through this year’s district tournament.
“It was cold at this year’s tournament, but last year’s district wasn’t perfect either,” said Liam. “It was a difficult challenge at Pine Hills.”
Now, Liam is headed to the state tournament again, with his coach and dad in his corner.
“He doesn’t help me too much with my swing during a tournament, but mentally and decision-making on the course, my dad is the best you can get,” said Liam. “He is really smart in what shots not to hit.
“My parents are always there, backing me up and are the first ones to congratulate me,” Liam added. “I’m thankful for them and their support.”
Liam played in numerous summer tournaments locally and in other states.
“We all four go and make it a vacation,” said Liam about his dad, mom and sister Addison.
“Addison plays tennis and works really hard.”
About his team, Liam said their last tournament together this season was at the sectional at Tannenhauf.
“We gave it our all and gave ourselves a chance for the team to qualify,” said Curtis.
What Liam loves about the team is being together.
“We traveled to the Dublin Jerome tournament and played absolutely terrible,” said Curtis. “But the drive home, we were laughing at each other’s round and it was a fun trip.”
He enjoys playing in the Hudson Junior since he considers Hudson Country Club his home course and, in the Ohio Junior, because it is one of the best fields for Ohio golfers.
He was able to play with one of his best friends at the District at Pine Hills.
“Golf is different,” said Liam. “You’re not really playing against each other. You can’t control what the other person does or stop them from scoring on you.”
“It’s what you can do to give yourself a chance to score,” offered the state-qualifier.
That is what Liam’s goal is at the state tournament. Give himself a chance to score well.
“I am definitely looking to improve at the state tournament,” said Curtis. “This year, I am a lot better than I was last year, especially mentally.”
He is looking forward to his family and teammates coming.
“My best friends are on the team,” said Curtis.
Curtis would like to be a professional golfer in the future or do something related to golf.
“I just love golf and want to be able to live playing golf, that is my end goal.”
Meanwhile, competing in tournaments, improving at the state this season and playing golf with his family and friends will do just fine.
Liam Curtis tees off at the Division I Ohio Boys State Tournament on the Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course at 10:40 a.m. on the tenth hole on Friday.