Winning a state title in any sport is hard enough. Taking top three in the state golf tournament for 27 years straight and winning 14 state titles in the history of the school, and that school might be the most dominant team in the state. The team: Rockhurst; the freshman attempting to make the varsity team: Michael Bessenbacher. Michael helped propel the Hawklets to their 14 state title last year and is trying to do the same thing once again.
When did you begin playing golf?
I began playing golf after I received a set of clubs from my grandparent when I was 10 years old. At first, I tried to teach myself how to play, but after about a month, I found the swing coach that I still have till this day. My dad took me up to the range and just kind of left me there to figure things out myself. He would come up sometimes and give me some tips, but for the most part, I was trying to figure it out myself until I found my swing coach.
What did you expect going into tryouts your freshman year?
Headed into tryouts, I knew the competition would be tough. I expected to play well every day, but after the first day, I knew it wouldn’t be so easy.
How did you feel after you realized that you had won a spot on the varsity team?
I felt as though there was a boulder lifted from my shoulders. My main goal was to just make varsity and after finding out I had made it, it was quite a relief.
What was it like to win the Laker Invitational at Old Kinderhook?
Winning at Old Kinderhook was almost as great as winning state. We had never won that tournament and to be able to lead the team and shoot 296 and run away with the tournament was a pretty great feeling.
How did it feel to play at state as a freshman?
Playing at state as a freshman, I was extremely nervous. All I wanted to do was help the team out. While my score was taken both days, the second day was a little more nerve-racking and frustrating than most days.
How did it feel to win a state title as a freshman?
Winning state as a freshman is a feeling like no other, and to be able to do it with the guys I did it made it even that much better.
How did seniors Ethan Packel and Rob Enright help prepare you for your first season on the golf team?
Both Rob and Ethan were very welcoming of me. I was very nervous around all the guys on the team at the beginning of the year being the only freshman on varsity, but Rob and Ethan really helped me relax and just have fun with the whole process of playing team golf.
What are your hopes for the team and yourself going forward?
Going forward, my hope is what it was last year and will be till I graduate, win state. To be able to say you are on the best team in the state is an honor like no other, and hopefully winning state will help motivate the guys in the future years to work harder so they too can hang a banner.