P-T Golfer of the Year: Valparaiso’s Kyle Meihofer
By Mike Hutton 648-3139 or email@example.com July 6, 2012 11:16PM
Kyle Meihofer, Post-Tribune Golfer of the Year poses for a photo at The Course at Aberdeen in Valparaiso on Sunday June 24, 2012. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 8, 2012 6:11AM
The goal is pretty clear for Kyle Meihofer: He’d like to play Division I golf somewhere.
“He has the capability,” Valparaiso coach Wayne Lichtenberger said.
In some ways, it’s hard for Lichtenberger to believe it has all turned out so well for Meihofer, the Post-Tribune Golfer of the Year.
When Meihofer was in his class at Ben Franklin Middle School, he wasn’t shy about talking up his affinity for the game with Lichtenberger.
Lichtenberger, somewhat skeptical, took a wait-and-see attitude. He has had a lot of good players over the years and he didn’t know much about Meihofer’s game. Plus, he knew that Bobby Jacobs, Meihofer’s classmate, was already really good. He thought two ringers in one class was a long shot.
Meihofer turned out to be way better than Lichtenberger could’ve hoped for.
Every year, he has dropped his 18-hole scoring average, going from around 77 as a freshman to 75 last year to 72.7 for 18 holes this year.
Statistically, Meihofer was slightly ahead of Jacobs this year, and statistically, with the exception of Jordan Lenard of LaPorte, no one was better than Meihofer during the year.
The only time Meihofer lost his edge just a bit was when he got sick with mononucleosis and he struggled at the Duneland Conference meet and sectionals, shooting 78 both days.
Meihofer bounced back at the regional, shooting a 72. His state final score of 78 was the best on the team for the Vikings, who had a rough day.
Lichtenberger said Meihofer deserves the recognition he is getting.
“He has put a lot of time and effort into it,” Lichtenberger said.
That includes working out in the gym as well as attacking the practice range.
“It’s pretty easy to get better when you love something,” Meihofer said. “I like setting goals and trying to reach those goals.”
Meihofer maximizes his practice time by focusing most of his time on his short game, working hard on his putting, which he improved with the help of a belly putter this year.
Meihofer is traveling all over the country, playing in tournaments to try to improve his game.
He was in Tennessee two weeks ago for an AJGA tournament and he’s at Pebble Beach now, playing in a First Tee event with PGA Tour player Trevor Dodds.
He was unhappy about how the season ended — the current group of players shot its worst 18-hole score ever in the first day of the state tournament — but he’s looking forward, not backward for the rest of the summer and next year.
“It sucked to not make it out of the first day,” he said. “We hadn’t ever posted a number like that. All I can do now is try to play as well I can be and try to be on top of my game.”