Altimose concludes surprising season
Joey Altimose has held a golf club in his hand since he was able to do it. Literally.
The Liberty freshman, who surprised the Lehigh Valley golf world with his play this season, recalled how he began the sport with a club in his hand at 14 months old and his trek hasn’t slowed. He credits the influence and guidance of his father Gene, a lifetime golfer and a former member of the Southern Lehigh High School team.
“My parents gave me a plastic club and let me hit plastic golf balls in the house,” noted Altimose. “My dad has been playing golf all of his life and he helped get me started. It really didn’t take me that long to adjust to the sport.”
This past season, Altimose helped pace Liberty’s squad as he averaged an 81. Altimose finished 11th overall at the East Penn Conference tournament and qualified for districts, where he fired an 82.
Still, it was a year that he soon won’t forget.
“I was pretty surprised that I made it there,” he said. “I thought I had played pretty well and it was something to see how I was playing against seniors who have been there for a few years. I was pretty nervous at my first match, but I got more comfortable as the season went on.
“It was a windy day at districts and I didn’t play as well as I could. I didn’t know where I stood as far as the cutoff. I was just happy to be there.”
Head coach Steve Bradley also was pretty happy as well.
“He (Altimose) is a good, little player,” he said. “He doesn’t get rattled out there and he keeps the ball right down the middle. He can hit the ball as good as anyone in the league and he doesn’t take chances and always plays it safe. He certainly didn’t play like a freshman this year.”
Altimose stated how his play in the Lehigh Valley Golf Association (LVGA) over the past two years helped his transition. He earlier this season captured the Owen McCall Memorial Golf Tournament with a two-over par 73 in August.
“It helped me to get sued to playing with other guys,” said Altimose. “It was just the playing, but it also helped talking to them about the game.”
Teammate Evan Cartwright also qualified for districts and he finished with an 87. Among other top finishers for locals were Kyle Smedley, Bethlehem Catholic, 92; Sean Costello, Becahi, 94; Jake Smedley, Becahi, 96; and Justin Kintner, Freedom, 93.
Jake Smedley led the way for the Hawks with a score of 91 and the Pates Justin Kinter led his team with a 96.
Morgan Krause of Liberty shot a 96 and finished in third among the girls.