Lincoln Southwest senior Josh Bartels did not hesitate when asked about top goals for his final high school golf season.
A state title for the Silver Hawks.
“That would be awesome,” he said, “to cap off my senior year with a big win as a team.”
Bartels was a letter winner for the Hawks when they won the Class A title in 2016 – his freshman season – but he had more of a supporting role on that team.
That is not the case anymore, as Bartels has moved up to star status.
“Josh is right up there with the elite golfers in the state,” said Southwest coach Jim Danson. “I remember when he was a freshman. He brought in quite a bit of talent, but he has really elevated his game in recent years.”
Bartels averaged 76 last season and tied for 10th at state with rounds of 76 and 77. He also made it to the Boys Junior PGA Championship last summer, barely missing the cut after two rounds in Louisville, Kentucky.
He said he is confident in most areas of his game, especially his short game, but one area he hopes to improve this season is his iron play.
“Just being more consistent in hitting greens and making easy pars,” he said. “Having better chances for birdies.”
Bartels and Hudson Schulz lead a strong group of Silver Hawk seniors, also including Riley Podliska and Tanner Rigg. Seven or eight golfers are competing for spots in the varsity lineup. Southwest, which finished third in the Class A race a year ago, clearly has the makeup to get back to the top.
Those championship hopes start with Schulz and Bartels, who accepted a scholarship offer from UNO. When he starts with the Mavericks in the fall, he plans to study business administration.
Omaha men's golf coach Seth Porter, when announcing Bartels’ signing in December, said: “He is very consistent and steady. He is one of the best junior players in the state whose best golf is ahead of him."
But first things first. A senior golf season with some big goals. Danson believes Bartels has what it takes to go out with a bang.
“First of all, he is a really good golfer,” Danson said, “but he has become an even better person.”