Wilhelm Sets new GMC records, wins Golfer of the Year
Matthew Smith | Sports Editor
It’s time to dust off the record books thanks to the Mason boys golf team.
Heading into the Greater Miami Conference (GMC) tournament, the team felt good about their chances on the course. With Lakota East returning as the defending conference champions though, it would be a tall task to take them down.
Fast forward two days, and the Comets are celebrating their first conference championship in eight years. It was a record-setting performance, as the team won by six strokes and set a new GMC single-day low of 283 strokes. However, it was sophomore sensation AJ Wilhelm who stole the show for Mason.
On day one, Wilhelm set a new single day course record, shooting seven under par with a 65. Although Wilhelm was aware of his remarkable performance, he said taking it one shot at a time was key to his record-breaking day.
“I tried not to think about [my performance] as much as possible,” Wilhelm said. “My mindset was just to get one more. Get one more great hole, get one more birdie, and build off of each hole.”
Heading into the tournament, Wilhelm felt like he was very prepared, but despite that preparation, was still amazed at how well he executed. Wilhelm said shooting a 65 was a feeling unlike any other and was thrilled to see his hard work pay off.
“It was just such a satisfying feeling,” Wilhelm said. “It was mind-boggling to me that I shot a 65. I came into the tournament with a game plan for each hole, but I never thought I would execute it as well as I did. All the work throughout the summer and leading up to the season made it happen.”
With a substantial lead, Wilhelm knew he couldn’t take his foot off the gas. Wilhelm said that it became more of a mental game for him to continue building on his momentum.
“Going into the second day, I knew my mental approach would be the most important thing,” Wilhelm said. “If I missed a couple of shots or didn’t hit a put, I needed to stay focused and just let the game come to me.”
Finishing the second day two under with a 70, Wilhelm set yet another conference record, finishing with an all-time low GMC score of 135 strokes in the tournament.
By winning the conference tournament in dominant fashion, the accolades continued to rain in, as he was also named the GMC Golfer of the Year. Wilhelm has had this goal all year, and he said it still feels unbelievable days later.
“It hasn’t fully sunk in yet,” Wilhelm said. “It’s crazy to think about. I’m thankful for my coaches and teammates who helped get me here. Now I can’t wait for the future and I hope to defend [my title] in the years to come.”
Wilhelm is one of four sophomores who were named First Team GMC, including 2019 Golfer of the Year Nate Vonderhaar, who plays a part in Wilhelm’s burning passion to be the best. Wilhelm said that his relationship with Vonderhaar feeds his competitiveness everyday, amidst everything they have accomplished.
“Last year Nate [Vonderhaar] won Golfer of the Year, and for the two of us to do it back to back seasons is incredible,” Wilhelm said. “Everytime we are on the course we push each other and try to out-play each other. It’s a friendly rivalry that makes both of us better.”
Now with the GMC tournament in their rearview mirror, new goals for the red-hot Wilhelm have emerged. Wilhelm said that the biggest thing for him is to stay focused despite his recent stellar play.
“I just need to keep working,” Wilhelm said. “This is no time to let up. Continuing to work on my game and pushing myself every time I’m on the course is the most important thing I can do moving forward.”