The following story first appeared in the June 2 Press.

Avon Lake

Avon Lake High School golfers Brendan Aussem and Andrew Lombardi can call themselves champions. For the first time ever, the Southwest Junior Golf Tour won the Joe Hasse Cup at Firestone Country Club.

The Southwest Junior Golf Tour was led by Lombardi and Aussem, both of whom won their matches.

“I felt like I played very well overall,” Lombardi said. “There were some rough areas throughout the Match Play event, but I ended up coming out with a win.”

While Aussem and Lombardi played separately during the tournament, they play together on the ALHS varsity golf team and golf together during the off-season regularly.

“Brendan and I play golf everyday of the week and throughout the winter at indoor facilities,” Lombardi said. “Brendan is a magnificent freshman golfer and it is a pleasure to play with him.

“Brendan is more of an opponent to me than some of the students at opposing schools.”

The Southwest Junior Golf Tour finished with 32 points, a commanding lead over the other teams with second place, whom finished eight points behind.

The winners of matches receive two points for their respective teams and matches ending in all square receive one point for their team.

Playing at such a prestigious event ensures the competition will be difficult and both players admit there were some great golfers participating in the event.

“The competition was very tough since a lot of them were in the State Championship and district finals,” Aussem said.

Lombardi agreed.

“The competition was challenging but when you practice everyday it gives you more of an edge against opponents,” he said.

The last time the Southwest Junior Tour won the Joe Hasse Cup was back-to-back years in 1999 and 2000. Since then, the team has struggled to win – until now.

“It was a real pleasure taking first place this year because our tour hasn’t won in a long time,” Lombardi said. “Just thinking it was our first year and bringing home a victory really gives us a push to keep working hard and achieving these wonderful goals.”

“It is fantastic to win this cup,” said Aussem. “Our league has typically placed last in the event and it’s great to end that streak.”

As the boys begin to prepare for next fall’s varsity golf season, Lombardi believes the team will be a legitimate contender.

“I would just like to say to keep an eye on this team in the 2010-11 school year because we are very strong and have a high chance of making it to the state tournament,” he said.

In addition to winning the Joe Hasse Cup, Aussem recently qualified at Riceland Golf Course for the sectional Jr. PGA Championship at Legacy Golf Course at Sweetbriar on June 29 and 30.

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