Clinton Ace 'Sharpened' for Last Prep Swing

April 8, 2019

By Doug Donnelly
Special for Second Half

CLINTON – Austin Fauser is feeling a little dangerous.

The Clinton senior golfer won the Lower Peninsula Division 4 championship as a sophomore and tied for third last season. Now, having already committed to a college and with a host of medals and honors in his collection, Fauser is fired up for one more high school season.

“They say the most dangerous player on the golf course is the one who has nothing to lose,” Fauser said. “I have nothing to lose this season.”

Fauser is rested, especially mentally. He was admittedly a little disappointed with not repeating as the Division 4 champion in June. After a busy summer on the course, he focused on his other sport for the winter – basketball – and took some time away from his passion in life, golf.

“The offseason was fine, but when it ended, I really focused on basketball,” the 18-year-old said. “It was nice to get a break. Sometimes it helps to get your mind off things. Everybody has a point where they need a break. I got out a club when I could, but basketball was on my mind.”

This winter, Fauser averaged about six points a game as a solid contributor for the Redskins.

“Basketball is different, but a lot of sports are the same,” Fauser said. “You have to be mentally tough in any sport to not just be good but to excel in it. In basketball, they say to keep shooting, keep shooting. In golf, you have to be mentally tough to shrug off when you miss one and focus on that next shot.”

Fauser helped Clinton qualify for the MHSAA Finals as a freshman. Playing at Forest Akers West that weekend, he shot a 76 on the first day and ended up ninth while his team placed fifth.

As a sophomore, Fauser was medalist in nine straight competitions and tied the Division 4 Final record (since broken) by shooting a two-day 5-under-par 139 at Forest Akers East.

Fauser shot a 3-under 69 on the first day, then came back with a 70 on Saturday, tying the record set by Colby Beckstrom of North Muskegon in 2001. It wasn’t just that Fauser did it but how he did it – staying mentally focused.

On the sixth hole at Forest Akers East, Fauser sank a 35-foot birdie putt, then hit the water on the very next hole. Fauser, just 15, wasn’t fazed. He hit a wedge shot to within five feet on his next shot, saving par.

Fauser’s junior year was just as impressive. He won the Lenawee County individual title while helping his team to the top spot, was the Tri-County Conference champion as an individual as his team finished first as well and won the Regional individual title to lead his team to another championship.

“He has really sharpened his mental game this year,” Clinton coach Nito Ramos said. “I expect him to contend for the top spot in all of our tournaments.”

Fauser is like having another coach on the golf course, Ramos said. He’s always helping the younger players with their games while finding time to focus on his own.

“I enjoy watching him interact with the entire team, giving them pointers here and there,” Ramos said. “He’s a great team member, especially with our really young golf team this season.”

Fauser isn’t the only one in his family passionate about golf. The Fausers have a golf simulator in their barn along with a 40-foot putting green. Like a basketball player that goes into his backyard to shoot hoops, Fauser picks up a wedge or putter and heads to his barn.

“The greens run about the same as a really good course, about nine or 10 on the meter,” he said. “I’m out there all of the time. I putt on that green a ton. I’ll tell myself that I’m going to go out and hit 200 or 300 balls into the simulator, but I end up hitting 50 and go to the green.

“It helps out a lot, especially being in Michigan. I don’t like the cold weather. I can just go to the barn when I need to and relieve stress.”

Fauser also snuck in a golfing trip to Arizona during a break in the basketball schedule.

The Clinton team benefits from the Fausers’ simulator. During the preseason when it’s too cold, windy or snowy to get onto the local course, Ramos can work with his golfers in the Fausers’ barn.

“Once we get outside, we get outside. But until then, this simulator is great,” Fauser said.

Clinton has the pieces to make a fourth straight run at the Division 4 title. The Redskins host the Regional at Rustic Glen Golf Course and, in addition to Fauser, return juniors Garrett Ramos and Daniel Shovels from the lineup that finished seventh at the Final in 2018. Sophomore Eric Berndt is coming along, and a new golfer to the team, Will Gragg, has been a pleasant addition.

“We have a really good schedule this year,” Ramos said. “We have a lot of goals as a team.”

As for Fauser, he’s anxious to get onto the course. Ramos said the time away from the sport has been good for his star golfer.

“He took a couple months off and got back into the swing about January,” Ramos said. “He has really sharpened his mental game this year.”

Fauser will golf next season at Maryville University, a Division II program outside of St. Louis, Missouri. For now, however, he’s focused on the immediate goals ahead of him – especially for the Division 4 Final in June at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University.

“I still have to get better and work as hard as possible,” Fauser said. “It’s not going to be given to me. Last year was different. I felt a little bit of pressure, even though there really was none. I think I can achieve (the title) again.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Clinton’s Aaron Fauser fires an approach toward the green; he’s entering his final high school season with three top-10 Finals finishes including the 2017 championship in LP Division 4. (Middle) Fauser follows through on a putt. (Photos by Mike Dickie.)

Bloomfield Hills JV Golfer Adds Rare Highlight to Strong Spring with Par-4 Hole-In-One

By Tom Lang
Special for

May 24, 2024

Freshman Lucas Dostal was just aiming for a drive down the middle of the par-4 17th fairway.

Just seconds later, he finished the hole at Hudson Mills Metro Park in that one swing with the driver.

The Bloomfield Hills junior varsity player didn’t see from the tee his ace on the 329-yard hole drop in the cup, so the reaction was delayed – but still refreshing.

“I hit a draw, so the ball started right, then went left and it was kinda going toward the pin but it was too hard to see,” he said in an email. “The ground was firm, and there was some down wind.

“I didn’t see the ball at all go in, but once I realized it, I was in shock. It helped me shoot a really good 71, but I tripled bogeyed (4-putt) the last hole so that kinda ruined it.”

Spoken like a true competitive golfer.

That 71 was good for medalist at the tournament April 20 versus other JV teams like Detroit Catholic Central, Novi and Grand Blanc, and brought way more attention to his game than he’d like.

The program’s junior varsity coach David Lumsden, a North Hills middle school teacher, said a lot of people assumed he’d be bumped up to varsity very soon; even local media talked that way. After all, it was the first tournament of the season, and Dostal comes into the clubhouse with an albatross and a win.

Dostal, standing third from right, is joined by his team after they won the Ace & Bob Byerlein JV Tournament that day. “He is a good golfer, and the first thing I did was email the varsity coach and said I think this kid has got the goods to be on varsity,” Lumsden said. “We had purposefully left two varsity spots open because we have so many young kids who are good golfers; we didn’t know who to choose and left two spots (flexible). I suggested Lucas, but we agreed since he was a freshman to give him a couple more events and see how he does.

“I think he shot in the high 70s the next tournament and the 80s after that. And Lucas came to me after that and said, ‘Coach, can you put me on the B team?’ I think the pressure was getting to him being No. 1 on the A team. So, me and the varsity coach agreed he needs a year on JV to play in some more matches and tournaments and grow into that varsity position.”

The JV team went 9-0 this spring in dual meets and finished in the top 10 in five of six tournaments.

“He’s going to be a great golfer,” Lumsden said. “There’s no part of his game that is lacking. He’s got a great short game. Off the tee he’s amazing. And I’ve watched him make really great recovery shots with his irons. He’s going to be really good; we’re just taking it slow. Don’t want to put all this pressure on him and end up having him quit golf too early.

“Lucas is very mild-mannered. He doesn’t talk a lot. He loves golf and has a brother (Domonic) playing on the varsity team who’s really good too. They are both golf fanatics and love the game. It’s very enjoyable to watch him getting into it and getting used to being a good golfer and getting this kind of recognition. He’s not been bragging about anything, and he’s just a solid golfer.”

If Dostal does make varsity in 2025, he should be joining his brother for that one year together on the team.

“The awareness (of his game) is there,” Lumsden said. “He’s really got the temperament to be somebody that’s going to be a top golfer.

“Many of the top golfers in the state are here in Southeast Michigan, so he’s got a lot of good competition. He might be used to going out with his buddies and beating them by 10 strokes with no problem; now he’s going against kids who are just as good as he is, or better.

“And this is just JV golf. Once you go to varsity, those kids go really low.”

PHOTOS (Top) Bloomfield Hills’ Lucas Dostal shows the ball he drove into the hole next to him for a par-4 hole-in-one April 20 at Hudson Mills Metro Park. (Middle) Dostal, standing third from right, is joined by his team after they won the Ace & Bob Byerlein JV Tournament that day. (Photos courtesy of the Bloomfield Hills JV golf program.)