Pine Creek's Krueger ready for 5A state golf tourney
COLORADO SPRINGS - Ben Krueger is accustomed to scoring even par or even better at the Pine Creek Golf Club. Now he just wants to do it twice next week.
The Pine Creek senior plays Monday and Tuesday in the 5A state tournament at Saddle Rock Golf Club in Aurora. He’ll be joined by 83 of the state’s top players, including senior teammates Mike Vogelsong and Beau Bajza and freshman Garrett Frye.
“I hope we all do well and maybe we can even win the team title,” Krueger said.
He finished 46th last year while carding 81-81 at Eisenhower Golf Course at the Air Force Academy. Vogelson was 13 spots better with 77-81.
“I did really bad last year,” Krueger said. “This year I just don’t want to think too far ahead. I want to do one shot at a time and see how well I can play.”
Krueger did well at regional and made the 20-foot putt that clinched second for the team, which qualified Pine Creek for the state tournament.
Krueger was second in the Colorado Springs Metro League standings, 12 shots behind Air Academy junior Cam Harrell.
“I wish I’d won but second is pretty good,” Krueger said. “Cam had a great year. I think I did, too.”
Krueger’s consistency is perhaps his primary forte, said Pine Creek coach Dick Castle.
“He’s got great composure and doesn’t get too up or too down,” Castle said. “He’s not as long as most kids but he hits it better than most.
“At state, short game is going to come into play. Whoever chips and putts best will probably win.”
Krueger said he hit the ball farther this year than during his junior season but hasn’t putted very well.
“Ben has high expectations,” Castle said. “He won a couple of Rocky Mountain Junior Golf tournaments last summer.”
Krueger also won two high school tournaments this season – the Doherty Invitational at the Broadmoor with even-par and the Pine Creek Invitational at his home course at 2-under.
Krueger stands 6-foot but weighs just 130 pounds despite a regular weight-lifting regimen and constant trips to the family table.
“I’ve eaten so much trying to gain weight but I’ve got a really weird metabolism,” Krueger said. “I just don’t gain weight.”
Krueger said he learned golf from his father and by watching on TV. He hit plastic golf balls around the house and went to the course and driving range with his dad.
He tied for second in Metro standings as a junior but fell to third with the tiebreaker.
His career-best round is 67 from the back tees at Pine Creek but he claims a 31 for the front nine from the blue tees, one ahead from the tips.
“If he can put together two rounds, he could finish in the top 10 at state,” Castle said. “That’s true of Mike (Vogelsong) as well. Like Mike, he just doesn’t let a lot bother him so I don’t the pressure of state will affect him too much.”
That wasn’t true a few years ago, Castle said.
“During his freshman and sophomore years, Ben would get real mad at a bad shot,” Castle said. “He learned to move on to the next shot, the next hole. He’s also grown and matured, gotten stronger, and hits farther than he used to.”
Krueger just turned 17 on Aug. 26 so he figures to take next year off after graduating.
“I’ll get a job, maybe at a golf course, or bowling alley, and see what happens,” Krueger said. “I want to get bigger and stronger and mature some more physically.”
He hopes to play college golf but figures bowling could be another option.
“I bowl every week and I’m like the fourth best bowler in Colorado Springs for my age,” Krueger said.
He’s rolled a pair of 300 games and carries a 220 average. Still, it’s the golf course that attracts him most.
“I think overall I’m better at golf,” Krueger said. “I think I have more natural ability at golf.”
article updated on 10/2/09 08:32