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Confidence soars, scores drop for Olympians golfer


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It was a round that wouldn’t mean anything to anybody, except Adam Krebs.

The Columbus East junior was playing a practice

round on Saturday at Otter Creek with his teammates when he noticed something very surprising after 16 holes.

He was two-under.

 

After overcoming that tinge of pressure that plagues golfers once they start thinking of a number, Krebs finished with two pars to complete his lifetime low round of 70.

“I was hitting it decent, just having fun with my teammates,” said Krebs, who earned a berth in the state championship at The Legends in Franklin last year as a sophomore. “I didn’t realize I was two-under.”

He finally has realized that he can be pretty darned good.

Although the round of 70 doesn’t count in competition, it is another signal that Krebs could be on the verge of something special if the golfing stars align.

He started to see the light last year after shooting a 73 at Champions Pointe in Henryville to earn an individual spot at the state tournament.

“Doing well at regional, getting to state, that elevated his confidence,” said East coach Tom LaBarbera. ‘When he plays in tournaments now, he realizes he can compete to be the medalist. He knows he is going to be right there.”

That wasn’t the case when Krebs was playing in junior golf events, nor did he care that much. He was playing on a traveling soccer team and that’s where he put most of his emphasis. He has no regrets.

“I’m happy where I’m at,” he said with a smile.

OK, it probably would make him happy to shoot 69, or 68.

After a season of hard work, it looks possible. The practice round was more proof.

As a freshman and sophomore at East, Krebs played soccer, basketball and golf. He cut out the basketball last season to spend more time working on his golf game, or perhaps his body.

“Playing three sports my first two years of high school was tough, but after I gave up basketball, I started working out more and I did a lot of stretches. I increased by flexibility.”

That translated to more distance off the tee.

“I can get it out there 300 (yards),” he said.

“He had a very good workout program,” LaBarbera said. “He has gotten much longer, every bit as long as the best players we play against. He compresses the golf ball, which most high school players can’t do. He is right there with the longest, strongest players. Now it is a matter of fine-tuning and tightening everything up. He feels he should be competing to win tournaments now.”

That being said, his lowest round in competition this season has been a 73 at St. Anne’s. He will need more performances like he had on Saturday to make a big splash at the year’s end tournaments.

It’s obvious, though, he is headed in the right direction.

Krebs averaged 78 last year. He has dropped two full strokes off his average this season to 76. In golf, that’s a big drop.

Keeping that number dropping will take a lot of work.

“I’ve gotten longer off the tee and my up-and-down rate is higher,” he said. “My mental attitude has improved. I used to get mad easily, but I made sure I was ready coming into this season.”

He noted that he wants to focus on his game from 100 yards in to the green.

“I have those shots almost every hole,” he said in reference to his length off the tee.

“And I think it also is about how I manage the course. I might be too aggressive. I know what I need to improve on, now I need to get my head around committing to that.”

He also will remain committed to playing soccer with the Olympians. After golf practices, he often runs to remain in shape for soccer. He played forward last season.

“I’m probably more competitive in golf,” he said. “But I play soccer because it’s fun. I can’t play just one sport because I would get burned out.”

Golf has been part of his life since he was 2 or 3 because his parents, Steven and Heather, both play golf. Although Heather isn’t as dedicated as her husband and son, she has the only hole-in-one among the three.

Father and son, meanwhile, take turns with golf grudge matches.

“My dad and I always are talking trash to each other,” Adam Krebs said with a laugh. “I remember that I started to out-drive him when I was a freshman. He stopped trying to let me win.”

Now it’s the elder Krebs who is playing catch up.

That’s OK, though, because the two will battle for years to come. “What I enjoy most about golf is that I will be able to play when my school years are done,” Adam Krebs said.

His goal at this point is to focus on academics as he pursues college. He wants to major in engineering and he doubts he will attempt to play collegiate golf.

“It would be fun, but I would rather focus on engineering,” he said.

If he continues to improve, though, he might just get some offers to play golf.

First up, though, is trying to get back to the state level, and competing against those pesky cross-town rivals, Columbus North.

“It’s tough,” Adam Krebs said. “When you think of Columbus and golf, you think of North. They do deserve it.”

That being said, East shocked North at the Bedford North Lawrence Invitational at Otis Park, winning the tournament and out-scoring the Bull Dogs by 11 shots. That was with Krebs only shooting 78.

“In that tournament at Otis Park, when we won, it showed if we play decent we can compete with the best teams in the state. I think that meant a lot to us. There is no reason we can’t be shooting 300s, or 303s.”

However, East has to overcome inconsistency, which plagues the inexperience squad.

“It is an issue,” Adam Krebs said about consistency. “We’re a younger team. North is used to the mindset that, ‘I just doubled, I can get it back together.’”

If the Olympians stumble as a team, Krebs might have a shot at going back to the state tournament as an individual.

“I always think team first,” he said. “If we go to state as a team, fantastic.”

Last year, he shot an 86 on the opening day of the state tournament before finishing with a 75.

“I was really nervous,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect. But I’ve been there and taken in that atmosphere. I think I have learned that I can compete with anyone at state.

“I know I can play good golf.”

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