By KEITH SPARKS
As the Liberty Hill High School foyer filled with family, friends, teachers and coaches on Tuesday morning, senior golfer Nico Edel prepared to sign his letter of intent to play golf at the University of Central Oklahoma, an NCAA Division II program, on a partial athletic scholarship.
Edel’s relationship with UCO’s Head Golf Coach Josh Fosdick actually began while Fosdick was coaching at a different school. Edel met Fosdick through his father, the founder of Edel Golf, a golf club manufacturing company in Liberty Hill, as Fosdick would drop by the shop when he participated in golf events near Austin and San Antonio. Edel would hang around the shop with his father, and one day introduced himself to Fosdick, who then continued to recruit him to play golf at Rogers State, where he was currently Head Golf Coach.
“I like the coach a lot,” Edel said. “He’s a first-year coach there, and he’s done really well in the past with programs and has a good track record. He was really nice, a cool guy, and every person I talked to who knew of him had a lot of good things to say about him.”
Coincidentally, Edel happened to be playing in a golf tournament in Edmond, Oklahoma, when he saw on Twitter that Fosdick had been announced as the Head Golf Coach at UCO, which is located in Edmond, as well.
“I had no idea where Central Oklahoma was,” Edel said, “because he was kind of interested in getting me to go to the school he was at before, Rogers State. So I looked up where Central Oklahoma was, and it happened to be in the town that I was playing the tournament in. We talked a little bit more, and at our first tournament this season I shot a 67 and won, and that’s when he offered me the visit to Central Oklahoma.”
Edel took his first visit to campus in the fall of 2016, where he had an opportunity to spend time with his future teammates. His first experience with the team, coupled with his relationship with the coach, was enough to make him a Broncho.
“The team was really, really great when I went up and took my visit,” he said. “They were really nice, took me out and showed me the town. All those little things kind of helped me make my decision.”
Edel will head to Edmond this August, where he’ll be a six-hour drive away from his family. Between now and his first college tournament, he hopes to improve upon his consistency in order to have success at the collegiate level.
“Just kind of working on getting my scores a little bit more consistent,” he said, “to where the coach will have confidence in me, knowing that if I have a bad day, it’s not going to be really bad to where it will affect our team’s score. I’ve got to work on keeping my scores more consistent and trying to eliminate the big scores out on the golf course.”
As a senior at Liberty Hill this year, Edel has won two tournaments, finished third in another, and took second at the District Tournament, allowing him to move on to the Regional Tournament in Huntsville next week.
Although he competed in the Regional and State Tournaments last season with the Liberty Hill golf team, this season he’ll be going to Regionals as an individual, since the team wasn’t able to qualify as a whole.
Edel credited his teammates’ performances during last season’s Regional Tournament as the main reason they were able to qualify for State.
“Last year, I didn’t play a very good tournament,” he said, “but I played decent enough, and my other teammates played really well. Because of that, we were able to finish second at Regionals and move on as a team to State.”
Competing as an individual this season, Edel will have to rely on his own talent to get him to State, considering he doesn’t have his teammates to back him up.
“This year, I’m going to have to play really well by myself, because I don’t have a team to kind of back me up if I have a poor round,” he said. “I’m going to have to play two really solid rounds to kind of keep myself at the top of the leaderboard. If I can just do that, play my game, and stick to my game plan, I think I’ll have a really good chance.”
Edel could be playing in his final high school golf tournament next week at Raven Nest Golf Course in Huntsville, as the Regional Tournament takes place April 26-27, with tee times beginning at 7:30 a.m., though he will have an opportunity to qualify for the State Tournament for the second straight season.