Golf is an individual game, and can be lonely, but in high school and college you can play it as a team, and rely on other players wearing the same colors you do to win tournaments and have success.
Harmony senior Conlan Micher has seen both sides of all of it.
He was part of the first-ever Longhorns boys team to qualify for the Class 3A state tournament as a group last year. But that team had two seniors and an underclassman who moved out of Harmony, leaving Micher to lead this year’s team as the only member from the state squad, pulling along a roster of freshmen and sophomores.
Not only did he lead the team, he led the county.
His 77 at the Orange Belt Conference tournament and 79 at the District 3A-16 tournament, both at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links, were lowest among county players.
He’d trade a shot or two from one of those for shots saved at the Region 6 tournament. On a cool, windy day he shot 80, just out of the running for a return ticket to the state tournament (only two individual players not on qualifying teams earn a berth).
“The two guys who qualified shot 70 and 74, so it was like, ‘OK, tough day, wasn’t meant to be,’ then the one who shot 74 got disqualified and a 79 got in. Man, I didn’t want to hear that,” Micher said. “I go through the round and easily could have found a couple shots I wanted back that could have gotten me in.”
Where he earned a piece of the honor last year, when the whole Longhorn team was honored — because in any round one of five players could have been the low Longhorn — Micher himself is this year’s Osceola News-Gazette Boys Golfer of the Year.
Plus, that solid year came while playing hurt. He injured his back on the second hole of the second match of the season.
“I had to sit out for about two or three weeks, then I played through pain,” Micher said. “I could play with this medical tape on my back so, quite literally, I had to be duct-taped together to be able to play. So naturally, I didn’t play as well as I’d hoped to.
“We went from the best boys team in school history to one of the youngest ones,” he said. “Early in the season, while I did everything I could to help the team along, I knew my shot to go to regionals and state was as an individual, so I had to keep thinking of the big picture.”
Not only did he help his team, he helped his first-coach, Steve Smith.
“Conlan’s a great young person, with a high GPA, and provided a ton of help for me this season with our team,” Smith said. “Add the pressure of knowing he had to play well for himself and the team. I thought he handled all of this with great attitude and composure. He is so serious about his game and I feel he will really improve at the next level.”
Micher has an eye on the next level. He’s toured colleges in Alabama, Nebraska, North Carolina and Florida.
“I’ll have my choice of schools, so that’s good,” said Micher, who didn’t even start playing competitively until the middle of eighth grade. “I’d love to play professionally — somewhere, anywhere — but I’ll let my college career dictate that.”
All-County Boys Golf
Player of the Year: Conlan Micher (HHS, Sr.)
All-county team: Liberty: Evan Taylor. Celebration: Sam Cundiff, Owen Ingram, Crayson Labiad, Christian Robertson. St. Cloud: Bryan Hernandez. Harmony: Austin Price.