Berkley High golf returns core, looking for titles

By: Christian Davis | Woodward Talk | Published April 11, 2016

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Berkley High golf coach Scott Baltes calls his current group of players one of the most talented he’s had in his 13 seasons leading the program.

“It’s all up to them. If they want to, this could be a team that is really, really good,” Baltes said.

Berkley returns its top four golfers from a season ago, including ace sophomore Jake Radom in the No. 1 spot.

Last season, Radom won a district tournament and was an honorable-mention All-State selection, averaging 73 for 18 holes and 37 for nine.

“He’s working hard. This is something he wants to take to the next level,” Baltes said. “Talent-wise, I haven’t seen a pure ball striker like him. He’s a golf rat. He just does everything.”

Zach Leonard gives the squad some experience and is the lone senior. He’s a team captain, and Baltes said he was an integral part of the hockey team this past winter. Baltes expects him to shoot consistently in the 30s for nine holes.

“He’s one of the nicest kids that I’ve had in the program. I’m hoping with him being a senior and having a great hockey season with Berkley that he brings that to the course,” the coach said. “He’s definitely a leader and always trying to pump up everyone on the team.”

Junior Justin Flood is also back in the lineup. Baltes said he is filled with potential.

“To me, physically, he’s the most gifted guy on the team. If you looked at the whole team and say who looks like a golfer, it’s him,” Baltes said. “He hits it the longest and shows signs of his potential in practice. Hopefully, that comes out this year on the course as well.”

      Sophomore Gabe Schlussel is another returnee. He also plays No. 1 singles for the tennis team.

      “I wouldn’t say he’s a total surprise, because he’s definitely an athlete, but he played over expectations last year making the varsity team,” Baltes said. “He goes out there and fights. He’s a competitor.”

      Baltes hopes the foursome leads the Bears to the top of the Oakland Activities Association White Division.

      Baltes said Birmingham Seaholm is one of the favorites, but with Troy Athens, Auburn Hills Avondale, Farmington High, Oxford High and Rochester Hills Stoney Creek also in the division, nothing is easy.

      The coach is counting on a home-course advantage to make a difference, noting that the Bears host what he feels to be the top squads.

      “That’s an advantage; we don’t expect to lose there,” he said, as Berkley plays its home matches at the Detroit Golf Club. “This could be one of those seasons that could be real special.”

      Catch the Bears in the Farmington Invitational at 8 a.m. April 14 at the Farmington Hills Golf Club.

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