BURBANK — The competition will no doubt be fierce at the CIF Southern California Golf Assn. Regional Qualifier.
It’s probably a good bet that most of the golfers taking part in the tournament will have years of playing experience, with some having competed in the sport for more than a decade.
Burroughs High’s Kelsey Danzeisen isn’t a member of that group. In fact, the Indians’ junior picked up the sport only three years ago.
Despite his lack of experience, Danzeisen has enjoyed a fruitful run in two consecutive CIF Southern Section tournaments. He will get the chance to continue that run when he takes part in the qualifier Tuesday at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena.
The field of 124 players from the Southern, L.A, Central and San Diego sections will tee off on Course No. 1 in a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. in the 18-hole competition.
Having played baseball for a number of years, Danzeisen said he made the switch to golf after entering Burroughs as a freshman.
“I played baseball for eight years before high school, and when I got to high school for my freshman year I wasn’t really into the team, so I switched over to golf,” Danzeisen said. “I played a lot of golf the summer before my freshman year and that kinda just changed my mind at the way I looked at the sport.
“After that, I really got into golf and I started practicing and playing every day for the past two, three years. I never get tired of it. There’s always something new, and always something to learn with golf.”
In Tuesday’s event, Danzeisen will be attempting to qualify for the final tournament of the season. If he does well at the qualifier, he will punch his ticket to play in the prestigious CIF State Boys Golf Tournament on June 8 at the Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach.
“It would be nice to qualify for state,” Danzeisen said.
Despite placing fifth in the Pacific League tournament, Danzeisen has done well in the first two playoff tournaments. He took part in the CIF Individual Final Monday, which took place at Industry Hills Golf Club’s Babe Zaharias Course. Danzeisen fired a three-over-par-74, tying him for the fifth-best score of the day and a tie for 17th place.
Danzeisen qualified for the final by earning a spot out of the CIF Southern Section Northern Individual Regional at Las Posas Country Club in Camarillo on May 16. Danzeisen fired a five-over-par 76 to finish tied for 20th in the¿ event.
The junior said his success in the two tournaments has helped his mental game.
“This has really boosted my confidence,” he said “It’s really been a good experience for me.”
Brookside is a course that Danzeisen has played on with some regularity. His coach at Burroughs, Greg Everhart, thinks that familiarity with the course should come in handy.
“Brookside is not our home course, but it is a course that we do play a lot during the course of the season,” Everhart said. “I told Kelsey that is the course he will be playing next and he told me ‘that’s easy.’ So, he definitely has confidence.”
Along with dealing with the challenges of the course, golfers will also have to contend with the mental aspects of playing in a tough tournament with a berth to the state competition at stake. Danzeisen said he definitely will have a specific approach to the tournament.
“I just want to say to myself to stay relaxed and go out and just give it my best,” he said. “Really, that’s all anyone can do.”