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Ironton’s Holtzapfel swings his way to SSU

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior golfer Andy Holtzapfel signs a letter-of-intent to play for Shawnee State University. Attending the ceremony are: seated from left, grandmother Pat Holtzapfel, father Larry Holtzapfel, Andy, mother Kim Holtzapfel and grandmother Carol Morgan; standing from left, athletic director Mark LaFon, aunt Cheryl Holtzapfel, Shawnee State head coach Roger Merb and grandfather Larry Holtzapfel. (The Ironton Tribune / Jimmy Walker)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

History is on Andy Holtzapfel’s side.

Along with a pretty good golf swing.

Holtzapfel became another in a group of Ironton Fighting Tigers’ golfers to sign a letter-of-intent to play for the Shawnee State Golden Bears.

The senior joins other notable Ironton golfers such as Doug Joseph, Tony Brown, Jeff Kerns and Brian Washburn to play for Shawnee State.

“We’ve had nobody come to our school from Ironton that didn’t play,” said Shawnee State head coach Roger Merb. “Doug Joseph may have been the best we had and Tony Brown was an All-American.

“They play on a good high school program and bring a good work ethic. We lose our top three and Andy is as good as any of the three we have back. It wouldn’t surprise me if he made our top five. It doesn’t happen often. He’s coming in at the right time.”

Holtzapfel may be coming at the right time, but he’s coming with plenty of credentials.

He was the Tri-State Junior Golf Tour player of the year in each of the three age groups of 10-12, 13-15 and 16-18.

Holtzapfel was a three-time All-Southeastern Ohio Athletic League selection, a two-time Ironton Country Club Junior Champion, first team all-sectional, second team all-district in 2008 and first team all-district in 2009 and 2010.

Sporting a USGA handicap of three, Holtzapfel played in the AJGA Natural Resources Partners Tournament in 2009 and 2010, the Ohio Junior Championship tournaments from 2008-2010, the USGA Junior Am Tournament qualifiers in 2008 and 2009, and the Ohio Am Tournament qualifiers the past two years.

Holtzapfel picked Shawnee State over numerous other programs including Pikeville, Georgetown, Berea and Muskingum.

“I wanted to play close to home and play in a competitive program,” Holtzapfel said of his choice to play for the Bears.

“I think we’ll be pretty good. We don’t lose that many golfers and we have some good ones coming in.”

Shawnee State plays its home matches at the Portsmouth Elks course and Holtzapfel said that is one of his favorites. However, he knows there are plenty of other courses to play throughout the Mid-South Conference.

“The biggest difference will be traveling and playing courses I haven’t played. And there will be more practice time involved,” said Holtzapfel.

Andy is the son of Larry and Kim Holtzapfel of Ironton.