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Baker set to play golf at Denison University
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
When it came time for Warwick’s Drew Baker to make a decision about college, his choice really wasn’t that hard.
Although he had visited Lancaster’s Franklin & Marshall College and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., it was Denison University (Granville, Ohio) that emerged as the best fit.
"(Denison) is a liberal arts school and they just had a lot of different opportunities," said Baker, of Warwick’s Class of 2013. "We had a family friend that went there and loved it and just got a great education. So you just couldn’t beat it. The scores that I had fit in well there and I think I can be productive and successful at that school."
That goes for playing on the Division-Three Big Red golf team as well. A three-time District Three qualifier during his career at Warwick, Baker placed tied for third at the L-L Championships last fall with a 75 and eventually earned his first-ever berth to the PIAA Eastern Regionals.
He joins a Denison golf team that finished seventh in May in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Championship Series.
One of the attractions at Denison is that the school’s new athletic center includes an indoor golf training room with a new golf simulator.
"I would like to start a few matches as a freshman," Baker said when asked about his goals in college. "We have a big freshman class – five incoming freshmen, the coach (Rodney Butt) likes all of us and he said he’d give us some playing time. But I want to be consistent, be in that starting five that they have there and just get better individually, but help the team as much as I can too because it’s a team effort."
Baker acknowledged that he would like to improve on all parts of his game, but his short game, in particular.
"Short game for sure," he said. "It’s always short game. You’ve got to be able to putt and chip. The short game keeps you in it. If you hit good irons, if you hit good drives, that’s what wins tournaments, but putting will always keep you there."
Baker, who averaged a 77.1 during the L-L season last fall, is no stranger to hard work. And it should help his cause that he competed against the likes of reigning PIAA State individual champ Craig Hornberger of Manheim Township in high school.
"I go into every tournament thinking I can win," Baker said, "but you’ve got to have that realistic goal in mind too that you’re only as good as you practice, and I practice a lot and I work really hard. But I think I can compete with all the guys here. I played with Craig and I can see how I can get to his level, but also (my goal has to be) playing my own game and not forgetting what I want to do."
As a D-III school, Denison didn’t have any athletic scholarship money available, but Baker was able to obtain academic assistance to attend the school, which is located near Columbus, Ohio. He committed at the end of February under early decision period after visiting the campus, roughly seven hours away, during the winter months.
"They gave me a nice scholarship there, so it’s manageable for my parents and I to go there," Baker said. "Everyone is so nice there and they have a lot of good facilities … Denison was a good fit. I get to see a different part of the U.S. too."
More BAKER, page B-8