In stellar season, Lincoln Bates leads Mitchell golf from tee to green – Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL – Lincoln Bates can outplay almost anyone on the golf course.

Bates has always been known for having big drives, and with his 310-yard drives, Mitchell’s head golf coach, Ryker Kreutzfeldt, went so far as to say he could hit the ball the farthest from n anyone in Class AA, but Bates improved in other aspects of his game this season and established himself as Mitchell’s best golfer in his senior year.

Bates is averaging 76.57 strokes per round this year, nearly four strokes better than anyone else on the team and nearly six strokes shy of the 82.6 he had in average last season. In fact, the 76.5 average is even better than Bates’ lowest round last season of 77. For the season, he has four rounds of 75 or better, including a pair of 73.

What was the difference for him between last season and this season? According to Bates, this is his mental approach.

“It was largely just the mindset on the course; course management was the main thing, figuring out where to miss,” Bates said.

He did, however, get help from the coaching staff in the course management department. Mitchell added Jeff Meyerink as coach of the men’s team this season, and Bates noted that Meyerink has helped him significantly improve the course management aspect of the game, as well as become more comfortable with different shots, such as different lofts on shots within 100 yards.

Kreutzfeldt noticed he was more focused in practices and tournaments this year, which helped his mental game and allowed him to bounce more off bogeys and eliminate double bogeys, while also collecting as many birdies as possible.

“I think birdies have always been easy for me,” Bates said. “But keeping bogeys and double bogeys (off the scoreboard) has always been difficult for me.

“(A point of emphasis) was mainly to reduce misfires and try to get double bogeys off the scoreboard and realize that I can bounce back from bogeys.”

Lincoln Bates of Mitchell lines up a putt on hole 2 during the Mitchell Invitational on Friday, September 16, 2022 at Lakeview Golf Course.

Zech Lambert / Republic Mitchell

The results paid off for the senior, placing as high as third in a tournament with a season-low score of 73 at the Huron Invitational. For Kreutzfeldt, Bates’ performance this season has been a welcome one, and it’s the best he’s seen him play during his time on the Mitchell golf team.

“Not even close, the best he’s played,” Kreutzfeldt said of Bates’ performance this season.

Bates also mentioned his iron game as an area of ​​improvement this season compared to last year, saying he has improved with short distance irons, which he has been using more frequently since hitting. the ball further from the tee.

However, despite achieving some of his best tricks in a Kernel polo shirt, he feels there is more to him, citing his putting as an area he still wants to improve.

“I haven’t had a round yet where everything has gone well,” Bates said. “(I’m) just waiting for that to happen.”

With the season winding down, Bates has just a handful of chances left to put it all together in one round, but with the Class AA Boys’ Golf Tournament taking place at Lakeview Golf Course – Mitchell’s course – he thinks it gives him an edge over the rest of the pitch.

“I have the opportunity to play this course every day,” Bates said of the upcoming state tournament. “Compared to everyone else, they can’t do that.”

Regardless of where he finishes at the state tournament, this season has been an improvement for the senior. He led Mitchell throughout the season and stepped up after last year’s top golfer, Macon Larson, graduated.

For Kreutzfeldt, however, the potential has always been there for Bates, and this season he is only fulfilling that potential.

“Lincoln is a kid who just has a ton of skills,” Kreutzfeldt said. “He probably has the most talent in our team, it was just if he could put it up, and this year he really put it up.”