OK, perhaps it’s been apparent for a few years now.
But with T.J. Ostrom’s victory Sunday at the Quality Digital Office Technology County Amateur its clear that the York County Amateur Golf Association scene has ushered in a new era with a new leader.
Ostrom captured his fifth county amateur crown in impressive comeback fashion. His five titles (2012, 2011, 2005, 2002, 1999) are tied for second all-time with Peter Miller (1973, ’66, ’64, ’62, ’59) and Walt Newman (1940, ’36, ’34, ’33, ’31), one behind Bill Brenner’s record of six amateur titles (2004, 1995, ’94, ’89, ’76, ’75).
However, what really drives home the feeling that the guard has changed is Ostrom’s age.
At only 32-years-old, if Ostrom stays in the area and continues his high level of play, he’s sure to eclipse friend Brenner’s record for titles.
In fact, if he can emulate Brenner’s longevity on the YCAGA scene, Ostrom should set the bar to a point where it might not be reached again. Or at least not for a great amount of time.
Speaking with Brenner in the days leading up to this year’s county amateur about Ostrom’s potential for greatness, he offered up this quick prognostication.
“I would say in the next five years he’ll surpass my six wins, he’s that good,” Brenner said. “T.J. always plays well, he’s such a really good ball striker and when he’s putting the ball well he’s tough to beat.
“I always said to him ‘wouldn’t it be cool if you did that’, since we’re friends,” Brenner said.
So far, so good.
But what really makes any good era in any sport is competition.
The way Brenner had names like three-time champ Scott Knouse and Ed Malehorn to consistently contend with during his reign, Ostrom will need a solid foil or two in the coming years to keep things interesting.
Candidates for that post include Matt Henry, who tied for third this year and won back-to-back titles of his own in 2009-10, Gary Stewart Jr., this year’s runner-up and the 1998 champion and Steve Goodley, who finished fifth Sunday and has 5th, held first day lead.
There is also a good crop of golfers just past, or still in, the junior golf stage who should pose a challenge to Ostrom’s top spot for years to come if they’re in the county.
That group features players like recent high school graduates Alex Hofstrand (Kennard-Dale) and Avery Jones (York Suburban).
Hofstrand, the 2011 Daily Record/Sunday News YAIAA Division II Golfer of the Year, has already collected multiple victories on the York County Junior Golf Association tour this summer. He finished tied for 15th Sunday.
Jones, a two-time YAIAA Division II Golfer of the Year in 2009-10, just finished an impressive freshman campagin at Albright. Jones was named Most Outstanding Golfer and Rookie of the Year after he won the Commonwealth Conference Championships.
Also included in mix is rising West York golfer Josh Rinehart. Entering his junior season, Rinehart is already a two-time YAIAA tournament champion and has also been victorious on the YCJGA tour this year. He scored an 18th-place finish Sunday.
“It’s nice to see some young guys playing, which we haven’t had in the years before,” Ostrom said, expressing his excitement at the ever-increasing number of younger players entering York County Amateur Golf Association events. “There’s some good players coming up and I hope some of the younger kids do well.”
Just maybe not too well.