O’FALLON, Mo. • The Soderberg family has made a name for itself in basketball circles over the years, but one member of the clan has branched out into mastering a sport where the ball is much smaller and much less orange.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Brad, who has coached hoops at Wisconsin and Saint Louis University and is currently at Lindenwood; older brother, Kramer, who was a star on the hardwood at both St. Charles West and Lindenwood and older sister, Daley, who was an all-conference basketball player at West and a part of the Class 3 1600-meter relay track team that finished second at state in 2011, Davis Soderberg introduced himself to the local golf scene Monday and Tuesday at Winghaven Country Club.
The incoming freshman at St. Charles West fired the only under-par round at the Gateway PGA Junior Golf Tour and 18-Hole Championships with a two-under 70 on the first day and followed that up with 76 in the second round Tuesday to finish with a 146, which not only topped his boys 14-15 Tour Division but also every golfer regardless of age.
“I’ve been practicing a lot lately trying to get ready for it,” Soderberg said. “So, it was just another round of golf, and I just went out there and did my job.”
Soderberg said his short game is his strength and that part of his repertoire came through with flying colors at Winghaven.
“The irons weren’t as great as I wanted, but the short game really came through, and I really got it going at the end,” he said. “I had a bad stretch of three bogeys in a row on 9, 10 and 11, but then I bounced back pretty well.”
Soderberg’s passion for golf is a rather recent one.
“I just got hooked when we went to the 2011 Masters and the 2010 PGA Championship,” he said. “That’s when I knew I wanted to play golf. I’m still gonna play basketball for West and be a two-sport athlete, but I love golf, and I’m gonna keep doing that. We’ll see how it works out.”
In the Girls Tour Division 16-19 category, Emily Goldenstein found herself trailing defending Class 1 champion Brooke Cusumano by three strokes after Day 1. But a seven-stroke advantage in the second round afforded Goldenstein a four-shot victory.
“I’ve been in that situation a few times this summer,” said Goldenstein, who will be a junior at Parkway West. “I can’t control how they play, so I’ve just got to focus on my own game and not really worry about what they’re shooting or how they’re playing.”
Goldenstein, who finished 16th in Class 2 last fall, used a strong game off the tee to make her move to the top of the leaderboard.
“My driving was pretty good compared to what it was a few weeks ago,” she said. “I was keeping it in the fairway and not all wild. I only missed two fairways, and I hit 13 or 14 greens.”
For Cusumano, who will be a senior for Class 1 champion Westminster, a two-over 74 on the first day dissolved into a nine-over 81 on the second day.
“A couple of my approach shots were really loose and, when I missed, I really missed,” she said. “Those were my bad holes, and those really hurt me in the end.”
Ryan Keller, who will be a senior at Timberland, picked up a five-stroke win with a 72-77—149 to capture the Tour Boys 16-19 title.
“It was the second one I won this year, and this one was much more difficult,” Keller said. “The second day was a much bigger struggle. I had a 7, and that always hurts. On Day 1, I was making birdies in bunches.”
A pair of sudden-death playoffs also highlighted the day Tuesday.
In the 18-Hole Boys 12-13 division, Triston Buckley and Reilly Ahearn shot identical scores of 77 in each round to emerge tied for first with a 154. Each golfer parred the first playoff hole before Buckley birdied the second one to earn the victory.
“I saw that he had hit it right, so I took advantage of it and stuck it within five feet,” said Buckley, who will be in eighth grade at O’Fallon Christian Middle School. “It was fun. There was a lot of pressure going into the second one. But I took care of business.”
In the other playoff, Gabe Wheeler rebounded to knock off Chase Kinder to win the Tour Boys 14-15 division.
“Coming into today I was behind by two strokes, but I was just focused on myself and not my round,” said Wheeler, who will be a sophomore at Sikeston. “I just wanted to play my game, and if I didn’t win, fine.”
The other Tour Division winner was Taylor Hayes of Lake Ozark in the Girls 14-15 category.
The other 18-Hole Division winners were Michael Kanan of Chesterfield (Boys 16-19), Casey Yocks of Wentzville (Girls 16-19) and Marlee Clouatre of Bethalto (Girls 14-15).