Boys golf: Monroe’s Gomia builds off successful summer

Monroe junior Alex Gomia traveled to Florida and competed in the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship this summer. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Caption
Monroe junior Alex Gomia traveled to Florida and competed in the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship this summer. SUBMITTED PHOTO

It didn’t take long for Monroe High School golf coach Bob Hunt to notice a difference in top returner Alex Gomia this season.

Coming off a productive summer that included qualifying for the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship in Florida, the Hornets junior opened the season with a school-record 69 at the Dayton Christian Invitational at Pipestone Golf Course.

And through his first 63 holes of competition, he had a 9-hole average of 38.

» RELATED: Athlete of the Week, Alex Gomia

Now a more confident Gomia is focused on goals he never before thought to see as he seeks to improve on a solid sophomore campaign.

“He was playing really well over the summer, so he was on fire coming into the season,” Hunt said, noting Gomia drives the ball farther than anyone he has ever coached. “He’s shooting better scores, more consistently shooting lower scores, and he’s just extremely focused.”

Gomia has picked up right where he left off last season when he averaged a school-record 37.5 and came up six strokes shy of qualifying for the Division I state tournament.

His 9-hole average ranked second in the Southwestern Buckeye League last year and was a huge improvement from his 44 average in 2016. He had gotten off to an up-and-down start but found his stride in the second half of the season, placing seventh in the Southwestern Division tournament and earning a spot in the district event by winning a playoff hole at sectionals.

Gomia said his consistency so far this season comes from being more confident in his ability and better managing his game.

“The past few years I haven’t been consistent,” Gomia said. “I had major ups and downs. One week would be really good and the next week really bad. Now I’m feeling more confident and trying to manage the course better and not let big numbers add up.”

Monroe junior Alex Gomia shows his form during tournament play this summer. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Caption
Monroe junior Alex Gomia shows his form during tournament play this summer. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Optimist Championship especially served as a learning experience to build from, Gomia said. After posting scores of 79 and 74 the first two days, he had a good chance to make the cut but struggled to an 89 on Day 3.

“It was neat to see people from all around the world play and a lot of good golfers there to learn from,” said Gomia, who began swinging a club at age 5 and was playing competitively by age 9. “I learned I needed to focus more and not worry about scores and just play because after the first two days I had a chance to make the cut and I was caught up in making the cut instead of just playing.”

That would have helped him in the 2017 postseason, too. Now he sees that he could compete at that level of competition.

Hunt said the postseason was a learning experience in itself as Gomia was the first golfer from Monroe to qualify for a Division I district tournament. He expects a better showing this postseason.

“He had a great showing, played extremely well, but in Division I boys golf, playing well is not good enough,” Hunt said. “You have to play excellent to get to state. This year, I think he’s got a better chance. He has a year under his belt, he’s more confident, knows what to expect and is not going to be intimidated by the big crowds and quality of competition because he’s been playing with that all summer.”

Gomia can tell he has matured as a player just by how he practices. He used to go out to the range and just hit balls without thinking much about it. Now everything he does with a club has a purpose as he is always working on something specific.

Part of that is just understanding the game more, he said, and it’s led to a greater focus overall. He has some big goals for the rest of the season and is confident he can achieve them.

“I want to try to be first team in the league or win Player of the Year, I want to qualify for districts and state, and I want to beat my stroke average from last year, which was a school record,” Gomia said. “Everything I do is with a goal in mind, and I have a lot I still want to do.”