Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — When Chillicothe golf coach Jason Fischer gave Daniel Haller the best news he’d heard in his entire four-year career as a Cavalier, Haller didn’t believe him.
The senior had just finished his 18-hole round at the Hillsboro Elks Golf Course, competing in the Frontier Athletic Conference Meet … and he had just finished a conversation with Jackson’s Trace Speakman.
“After the match, all the teams were sitting around waiting for the final results and I was talking to Trace,” Haller recalled. “We had already known during the round that it would be between him and I, but after the last hole I congratulated him on his season and the award. I figured there was no chance for me to still be in it.”
Haller shot a 48 on the front nine and a 49 on the back, carding a 97 in total.
It wasn’t the results he entered the day looking for and it was higher than his nine-hole average of 39.5 heading into the match. But it turns out, to hold onto a conference Player of the Year award, the results were more than good enough to keep him at the top of the FAC’s list.
“After the results were calculated, my coach came out and shook my hand and said I was the Player of the Year,” Haller said. “I told him there was no way after the round I had just had. But then I noticed that Jackson’s coach was also congratulating Trace, which meant we tied.”
Haller and Speakman were named the FAC’s Co-Players of the Year after both ended the regular season with a nine-hole average of 42.5.
It ended what Haller describes as “the best regular season of his career.”
Before the start of the fall, Haller’s nine-hole average sat at 44. So, to drop two-and-a-half strokes off that number, he focused on one key part of his game.
“My main focus from day one has been hitting greens in regulation. I always tell my coach, ‘As long as I hit the green in regulation, I will make par,’” Haller said. “What I mean by that is I’ll most likely two-putt for par. If you look at my stats for my career, up until this season, I would maybe hit two greens in regulation and only have a couple of pars. This year, I would hit six to nine greens and have five or six pars, and maybe a birdie here and there.”
That one small tweak not only helped Haller land the Player of the Year award, but it also helped him seize momentum heading into the Division I sectional tournament.
Haller will tee off Thursday morning at Crown Hill Golf Course, hoping to advance into district play. If he keeps hitting greens, and keeps having fun along the way, anything could happen.
“Going into the postseason, I’m super excited. I’m coming off the best regular season of my career and I’ll be playing a course I know in the sectional tournament,” he said. “To get out of the sectional, all I have to do is play my game and hit greens in regulation. I can’t give enough credit to my coach, Jason Fischer, and all the guys I have gotten the chance to play with this season. This has been, by far, the most fun, and definitely the best season of my career.”