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Pair of Freshman Earn KSAC First Team Golf Honors




Sean Karg

of Keystone with his 2023

“Player of the Year “Award.

 

Freshman Sean Karg of Keystone and Joe Rapp of A-C Valley love to compete. You could say their freshman introduction golf season was merely a platform for both to gauge themselves against other golfers in the league. Rapp and Karg were both recently selected to the First Team in the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference. Not a bad start for first year contenders at the varsity level. Although gracious of the award, both know there is a lot of room for improvement.




Joe Rapp of A-C Valley

at the Drive Chip and Putt Tournament

held at Butler Country Club.

 

Both Rapp and Karg have taken similar paths in their pursuit of their passion for golf. Both spend the off season perfecting their games looking for a way to improve their golf skills.

For Karg it has been both a mental and physical adjustment. “I give a lot of credit to my coaches and family, who have helped me realize that I can’t be the best all of the time and that’s OK”. Most of the summer you can find Karg at Hi-Level golf course playing eight to twelve hours a day perfecting his shots and working on certain techniques. But sometimes, that is not enough for Karg. Sitting around the house doesn’t bode well. “Sometimes I will come home and practice more by hitting some balls into the net in my back yard, stated Karg. “When I don’t play that long I just don’t feel complete”.


Karg, off the tee at

the PIAA Championships.

 

The last two to three years Karg has stayed competitive by competing in local tournaments. Karg has played in two Islay’s Jr. Golf Tour tournaments. He placed 2nd at The Country Club of Meadville and 3rd at Slippery Rock Golf Club. He garnished first place at Tam O’ Shanter and first in the Hi-Level Jr. Open on his home course in Kossuth. “My two favorite places to play are Hi-Level and Pinecrest Country Club.

Karg’s freshman season has had its ups and downs but highlights his play at Districts as a reminder that his time and efforts are paying off. On the second day of District play, Karg went from 8th place to 4th after improving eleven strokes and firing a 72. That effort, earned Karg a trip to the PIAA State tournament held at Penn State on October 16, 17th. Karg finished his standout freshman season shooting a 79 and a 75 in the PIAA State Championship to finish 25th in the state.

Karg was recently selected by his teammates and coaches at Keystone as the Player of the Year. Keystone’s golf coach, Mindy Hess, who has watched Sean evolve as both a player and young man at Hi-Level golf course, couldn’t be more proud of him. “Sean is both motivating and encouraging to all the members on our team. I haven’t had a player since my niece Amber that has been so disciplined and competitive; Karg is definitely going places”, stated Hess. Quite a compliment considering it comes from someone who has worked with so many youth over the years. To keep Karg and Keystone competitive and on the course, Hess worked with the Athletic Director at Keystone to find extra matches and tournaments this season, a dividend that paid off.

Karg’s goals for 2024 include making more birdies than bogies, (his 2023 season stats­­ included 12 birdies, 34 pars, and 28 bogeys) to be the KSAC MVP and to be the District IX Champion.

Karg, whose goal as a freshman was to keep his nine hole average in the 30’s looks to be more competitive next year by improving on his putting game and to continue playing with his fellow freshman Joe Rapp in the summer. “We support each other by giving words of encouragement. I really enjoy playing golf with Joe, our competing through the school season has led to our friendship off the course, lamented Karg.


Karg off the tee at

the PIAA Championships.

 

Rapp, who began playing golf at the age of 11, enjoys his friendship and the competition that Karg brings on the golf course. “Sean always invites me to play his course with his high school buddies at Hi-Level. We enjoy spending the entire day on the golf course. Sean is a hard worker and takes golf very seriously. His hard work is paying off for him and I am happy for him, we are very supportive of each other”, commented Rapp.

Joe began really focusing his game and playing more and more when COVID happened. Rapp credits his golf coach, Leo Marron, who also happens to be his grandfather. The two spend many hours on the course fine tuning and talking about golf.

Rapp, the two- time Foxburg Jr. Club Champion also develops his game by competing in local tournaments. Rapp competes in the Islay’s Junior PGA tournaments each year to stay competitive and experience the longer courses. He has had success in the Drive Chip and Putt competitions over the years. In 2022 he just missed going to Nationals by a shot. This past summer he placed first in the Butler Qualifier and took first place honors carding a 76 at the Tam O’ Shanter Jr. Open.

In the off season, Rapp enjoys his time developing his skills on his home course (The Foxburg Country Club), which also happens to be the oldest golf course in continuous use in the United States and Hi-Level with Karg. Rapp’s favorite course to play is the Slippery Rock Golf Course and he sites Wanango as his most challenging and difficult to play.

Rapp, who is a competitor like Karg, set lofty goals as a freshman. “I wanted to be able to compete at Districts and play in the State tournament”.

For the season Rapp had seven top 10 finishes and 4 top 5 finishes which included a second place at Slippery Rock.

With the freshman season under his belt, Rapp looks to fine tune his game in the off season. “I have to “work on my short game”, that’s the key to success”, commented Rapp. Rapp who can carry the ball well for distance knows he also must improve in that area as well.

Rapp’s goals for 2024 are to compete in the State Tournament and finish in the top ten.

Hat’s off to these two young golfers whose hard work and dedication has paid off. With three more years left at the varsity level, one can only imagine what the future brings for these two young men.

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