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This Solomon golfer has his mind set on a second state title to cap his high school career

Solomon Gorilla senior golfer Spencer Coup returns for his senior season on the links.
Solomon Gorilla senior golfer Spencer Coup returns for his senior season on the links.

SOLOMON — There’s no secret to success, according to Solomon Gorilla senior golfer Spencer Coup.

“My mindset going into the spring is how it’s always been, and that’s going out and trying to improve every day,” Coup said. “I’ve always viewed golf as a game that’s against yourself and not other people. I know that if I can continue to keep getting better the work will show results.

"I know that since I won state there might be a target on my back and a little extra motivation from some of the other players as well, but I know that if I am confident, trust my game and focus on myself then everything will work itself out.”

Coup returns for his senior season on the links. He’s the defending Class 1A state individual titleist and he’d love nothing more — he was runnerup as a sophomore — to repeat in May.

“The first couple weeks I want to just focus on my swing and my short game,” said Coup, who shot a 79 to finish second in Thursday’s season-opening meet at Salina Golf Club/GreatLife. “I feel confident off the tee, and I’m mainly trying to get the short game dialed back in. Putting has always been a strong suit of mine, and it helped me drastically in state so just getting reps in is a main focus.”

He wasn’t ecstatic with his first round of the spring.

“It’s not the score I wanted, but with the (windy) conditions and it being the first tournament of the year I’ll take it,” said Coup, whose second meet of the year was last week at Herington.

“I was pleased with how well I handled the frustration of the first 9 and didn’t let it affect me for the next 9,” Coup added. “I also liked how good I was off the tee with the driver and 3-wood.”

He did everything possible to keep the golf momentum going after winning state last May at Emporia Municipal.

Coup somehow managed to win top medalist just three months removed from breaking his arm while driving to the basket for the basketball Gorillas.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to play with Spencer Coup, but anyone who can come back from a gruesome injury to winning state golf as an individual is a testament to his character,” said South Gray’s Jaxon Koehn, runnerup medalist last year. “If given the opportunity, I would love to play a round of golf with him.”

“Over the summer and fall, I played in a couple tournaments here and there. It was busy with summer weights, games, work and other things, but I managed to play well and put some solid scores up,” Coup said.

Which doesn’t bode well for other duffers.

‘Enough to get the job done’

“The day I won state was one I won’t ever forget,” Coup said. “I was tied going into the final 18, and my mindset was to just focus on what I can control. At the end of the day, that’s all you can do.

“I left some shots out there that I wish I could’ve had back. I didn’t play my best, but it was enough to get the job done. I knew someone was going to get hot and make things close. During the round, though, I wasn’t thinking about standings. It felt like I was just playing a normal round.

"Once I found out I had won by a shot, I didn’t know what to think. It didn’t hit me until a couple days after how cool it was to win state and the things I had overcome to do it.”

His mental and physical game is definitely better than last year, Coup said.

“I didn’t know how I was going to play coming back from a broken arm, and I was pretty down on myself since I had to withdraw from the first two tournaments I played in due to pain,” he said. “I didn’t have any confidence back then, but now I am ready to go and just play the game I know I can play.”

Coup shot a 79 at regionals and got first, then carded successive 77’s both days at state.

“The turning point for me was the tournament in Hutch. It was my first pain-free round,” Coup said of the tournament at Carey Park. “I didn’t put up a score I wanted to, but to not have any pain was a step forward.”

From that point forward, Coup was a golfer unleashed.

“My scores progressively improved as we got closer to regionals,” he said.

‘Life is going to throw punches’

Coup has been in contact with multiple colleges, for golf and basketball as well.

“I’ve mainly heard from Bethel and Southwestern for golf, and a couple others for basketball and a dual sport,” he said. “It’s something I’m looking into making a decision soon, and I’m just trying to take everything into account while I choose where I’ll go in my next chapter.”

Golf has been a huge part of his life. He’s been masterful in blocking out life’s issues for four hours while playing 18 holes of a game he’s played since he could swing a club.

“Ever since I was born, I was on a golf course since my dad coached for many years,” Coup said. “It’s taught me that life is going to throw punches, it’s just about how you respond. There’s always ups and downs, but the way to react and make yourself better is very important. Golf has allowed me to be patient and trust that my time is coming.”

His time has arrived as he aims for his third consecutive top-two finish at state.

“Repeating as a state champion would mean everything to me,” Coup said. “With everything I’ve had to deal with to get back to this point with my broken arm last year, going back to back would be the icing on the cake for my high school career.

"I want to represent my school and community well and be a role model to the younger kids, while also being remembered as one of the best athletes on and off the competitive scene to come through Solomon. It’s very rare to see someone go back to back, especially in golf, but if I trust in myself, I think it’s possible.”

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Solomon golfer has his mind set on a second state title