East Amherst’s Ben Reichert won the AJGA New Era Junior championship on Friday at Harvest Hill golf course. Reichert bounced back from two early bogies to play steady golf as his challengers faltered. By the end of the final round, the Williamsville North senior had separated himself by three strokes from runners-up Noah Steele (Kingston, Ontario) and Mike May (Auburn, NY).
The victory was satisfying for Reichert, who was runner-up last year in the event’s first year. River Oaks golf club played host to the inaugural New Era event, and the second playing was scheduled for the southtowns’ premier public course in 2015. Despite opening rounds of 69 and 68, the champion found himself looking up at playing partner Zachary Ford (Cochranton, PA) who briefly took the lead with a birdie on the second hole. Ford’s round unraveled with a run of too many bogies, not enough birdies. Reichert heard the footsteps of May, who began Saturday with birdies on his first three holes, and five of the first seven, to charge up the leaderboard. May could not maintain his torrid pace, and settled for second place with Steele. The Canadian was in position to make a charge until he encountered a bogey train of his own, making three late in the back nine.
Ben Reichert took some time to answer questions for BuffaloGolfer. We appreciate his thoughtful responses and the effort he took to communicate his thoughts. Photos courtesy of the American Junior Golf Association
Question one: how did your strategy for harvest hill suffer from cedar lake??
Very different style golf course. Harvest hill is much longer I hit more drivers there than I did at cedar lake
Ok. Two: did you know harvest well before the event? If not, what were the strategic keys for you?
I had played it a few times but it had been a while. I played a couple practice rounds and I had a pretty good feel for it
Did anything stand out as important to you that you wouldn’t have done at River Oaks, for example?
River oaks is a little more wide open. Harvest hill I had to think a little more
Perfect. Next question: how did you prepare mentally for each round each shot?
I mean I knew where I stood the whole time and I knew exactly what I needed to do.
Any point over the three days where things started to slip , where you had to refocus?
I bogeyed holes 2 and 3 yesterday and lost the lead at one point. I knew everyone was going to struggle with the wind yesterday and I knew that would happen to everyone at some point
How do you adjust your game for wind? Do you lower your ball flight or something else?
I mean for the most part I just play for it but I also try to hit lower shots and take extra club to take the spin off of it so it doesn’t balloon
Were there any other delays that interrupted play, that made the golfers sit back and reflect instead of golfing??
We didn’t get called off the course at any point but I’m assuming everyone knew where they were
I see. Do your recent successes change things for you this year?
It’s certainly been a year to remember. I definitely have taken my game to a new level this summer and I hope I can continue to build on that and improve
How’s the varsity team looking for coach Burns this year?
Pretty good. Hard to predict sometimes but I definitely think we will have some depth
Thank you. Anything I forgotten ask? Anything you would like to add?
I think that’s about it, thanks a lot!