Reynolds locked in on golf greatness
This feature is a part of The Register’s Allen County Area Athletes of the Month series. At the end of each month, The Register nominates three male and three female athletes for our readers to vote on and the winners get named Athlete of the Month and possibly have an opportunity to be featured in the paper throughout the next month. To nominate your favorite athlete click here or email the sports desk at email@example.com.
YATES CENTER sophomore golfer Easton Reynolds traded in his baseball bat and glove for a set of golf clubs around three years ago and he’s never looked back.
At the start, it was a move that puzzled his parents even though his mother, Melissa, had tried for years to get Easton to pick up a putter. But Easton resisted, which is understandable.
Golf is the quiet, thinking-person’s sport. It’s meditative. Compared to the rowdy nature of a traveling baseball team where anyone has the chance of hitting a triple or turning two to end a bases-loaded jam, a 9 o’clock tee time on a dewy morning may not be as attractive to a 9-year-old.
Add in the fact that his parents named him after a company that sells baseball equipment and it just seemed like destiny.
But one day after one baseball game too many, Reynolds went to his parents looking for a change.
“I played a lot of baseball and then I think it was just one of those things,” Reynolds said. “I got burned out. So I decided to do something different.”
The middle-schooler dove head first into the world of golf. He began living and breathing the sport, letting it consume every waking moment.
“My TV at home never changes from the Golf Channel,” Reynolds said. “I love watching golf. I especially enjoy watching Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson since they’re both lefties like me. Phil’s short game is just amazing and that’s what I try to base my short game off of. I just watch video after video on YouTube trying to copy the technique. It’s just practice, practice, practice, practice but if you work at it, you’ll be fine.”
Reynolds has been better than fine. Since he arrived on the high school scene last season, he has been dominant. You can always count on a top-three finish from Reynolds no matter the tournament and oftentimes, his name will be right at the top.
On Monday, he took second at the 2A Regional tournament after shooting a 77 and walked away disappointed.
Reynolds is tall but well-built. That strong frame allows him to show off some impressive power, especially from the tee. That’s what he’s constructed his game around and when he’s on, it makes him pretty tough to beat.
“I’d say my game is interesting,” Reynolds said. “If I’m hitting the ball well and my driver is working, I’m going to have a good day. If not, then it’s just going to be OK.”
Every day is constant preparation for Reynolds who always seems to be doing the most to make sure he’s ready for the next tournament.
“He’s a consistent golfer and he’s always trying better himself,” Yates Center head coach Mike Fitzgerald said. “He works long hours on simulators and playing different courses over the weekends. He’s a non-stop die-hard, just like a few other that I have on the team. He’s very dedicated.”
HIS BIGGEST asset is his home-grown competition. Every day in practice Easton plays with two other top-15 golfers in the state in class 2A. Junior Reece Solander and freshman Jack King are always right up there with him in terms of placing and at times this season, they’ve even finished ahead of him.
“I’m very competitive and I like having people around me that play at or near the same level that I do,” Reynolds said. “It makes me play better.”
Colleges have already started to reach out to the sophomore and if he continues to improve into his junior and senior year, there’s no reason not to think that he wouldn’t be able find himself on a roster at a Division 1 school.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” Reynolds said. “I’d like to go to KU but I’ll end up wherever they’ll take me.”
But for now, he and his Wildcat teammates have state golf in Hesston on Monday to wrap up the season before he hits the tournament circuit throughout the summer.
Reynolds has played the course before and thinks it fits his style.
“If my driver and putter are working, then I’ll be OK,” Reynolds said. “We’ll see.”