Austin Lancaster has won … a lot … both during the 2015 season and also over his career as a Hendersonville High School golfer.
After winning medalist honors in three tournaments this fall, the Commandos’ senior standout has been named the Sumner County Male Golfer of the Year on the All-County Golf Team.
The 17-year-old Lancaster shot 72 to repeat as the Region 5-AAA Tournament medalist.
He also was the medalist at the H & T Carpet/Bluegrass Invitational and at the Golf Capital of Tennessee High School Invitational.
Lancaster concluded his senior campaign with a per-round average of 73.
As a team, Hendersonville won its 11th consecutive District 9-AAA Tournament and its eighth consecutive Region 5-AAA Tournament.
The Commandos placed third in the Class AAA State Tournament for the second consecutive year, after winning the AAA state title in 2013 and after placing fourth in the state in 2012.
Lancaster – who was the runner-up at the 2014 Tennessean/Metro Parks Schooldays Golf Tournament and a First Team All-County selection the last two years – recently signed a letter-of-intent to continue his education and playing career at Austin Peay State University.
He is the 11th Hendersonville male golfer to sign with a Division I program over the last eight years and is one of 14 golfers overall to sign with a college program over that span.
Lancaster recently talked about his senior season, his high-school career and his future, among other topics. His feedback is as follows …
How did you feel about the way that your senior season unfolded?
It was by far the most successful year I’ve ever had, including the summer. It was the best summer I could ask for. Overall, I am so pleased with my senior season. I couldn’t have asked for a better one.
What stands out as your personal highlight?
It was probably when I made the putt to beat Davis Shore (a University of Alabama commit in a two-hole playoff for medalist honors at the Golf Capital of Tennessee High School Invitational), just to turn around and see all of my friends. They were all excited. I was excited just to beat that great of a player on that stage.
Due to the past success, expectations are always high for the Hendersonville High boys golf program. As a result, was it disappointing to not to win another state championship?
It’s super disappointing, all three years we didn’t win the state. I had the privilege to win it once. The three years we didn’t win it, I thought we were going to. We didn’t perform. I didn’t perform this year at the state, but I’m humbled to be on such a great golf team. I have such good players to back me up. It’s great to say it’s a disappointing year when you get third.
How much are you looking forward to continuing your career at Austin Peay?
You’re always going to be nervous coming on to a bigger stage, but I’m so excited for Austin Peay. I’m going to work my butt off to try to come in and play right away. I just met my teammates two weeks ago. I love my teammates. I love the coach (Robbie Wilson) at Austin Peay. I’m so glad that God gave me this opportunity.
What other sports did you play before you concentrated exclusively on golf?
I played football when I was younger. I played baseball when I was younger. I won the state in wrestling when I was eight or nine (years old). I was top five in the state in tennis when I was younger also. I was a country-club-sport kind of guy. Ultimately, in seventh grade, I chose golf over everything. There was a golf team (then at Ellis Middle School) for the first time.
If you weren’t a golfer, what sport would you have chosen?
I always had a huge thing for tennis. I love tennis. That’s probably what I would have done if it wasn’t for golf. My mom hated me wrestling. She was nervous.
What’s the strongest part of your tennis game?
I’m pretty good on the forehand side.
Having a background in numerous sports, which one do you enjoy the most?
I really like watching basketball and football. I like watching college basketball. I love watching NFL (National Football League) football. I’m a huge (Washington) Redskins fan, because my dad is from Maryland. I’m also a huge Tennessee Vols fan … GBO (Go Big Orange) and Go Redskins.
What is something that most people wouldn’t know about you?
I still like playing tennis a lot. I play recreational basketball. I’m always doing something.
You’re really involved in the Hendersonville High War Team, which supports the various athletic programs at the school. Talk about that.
From my freshman year on, I was at every game. I was usually painted up (having body paint on my chest and/or face). I knew the War Team leader. My freshman year, it was my brother (Collin Lancaster). My sophomore year, it was Noah (Trenkler). My junior year, it was Landon (Albert). I am the main leader, and I chose six people. Technically, they’re the same as me. There’s usually two or three (leaders). I chose seven. I thought it was a good idea to have as many as you can.
If you could have selected any school to continue your playing career, which would you have chosen?
I just couldn’t imagine anywhere other than Austin Peay when I first looked at it. I love Austin Peay. I love the coach. My dream school would have been Tennessee, because I grew up loving them so much. But it would have been tough to turn down Austin Peay.
What do you plan to major in at Austin Peay?
I plan to be a business major. I want to be in sales. I’ve always dreamed of being a college golf coach. I’d hate to say I didn’t try to make the (professional golf) tour. Hopefully, I’ll try that depending on how college goes.
You have always played at such a fast pace. Why do you choose to play that way?
You get your yardage. You check the wind. You see where the pin is. You visualize your shot. You see it. You trust it. Of course, you have to hit it. I’ve actually slowed it down a little this year. Once you make a decision, you have to stick with that decision and trust your swing. You just trust it.
What’s your favorite golf course to play?
I’d say Bluegrass (Yacht and Country Club). I just love it. It’s a good golf course. If you want to score well, you have to play well. It is my home course.
Which other golfers have influenced you the most?
There’s three or four kids who influenced me. Carson Jacobs … I never got to play with him, but he helped me. Noah was huge. Kevin Lee was huge, and Landon was big. He’s a good friend of mine. I couldn’t be where I am without those three or four.
What has it been like being a part of the Hendersonville High golf program?
It’s almost a privilege. I wouldn’t say it’s pressure. You’re going out there and playing golf. I wouldn’t call it pressure (just) because we play for Hendersonville High School. I do put pressure on myself because I want to be the best. It’s just a privilege to be a part of such a great golf program.
What are you going to miss about it?
I’m going to miss going on trips with my friends. Being with the team on these trips and goofing around, it was so much fun. Sometimes, you don’t talk about what goes on behind golf tournaments. The best part is hanging out with your friends in the hotel. It’s just fun. Everybody on the golf team is such good friends. I’m going to miss that, but then again, I feel like it’s going to become a family at Austin Peay.
What do you feel that the future holds for the Hendersonville High golf program?
There’s always going to be continual success. There’s always going to be continual success with the quality of golf in the Hendersonville area. If you are a golfer in the area, most people want to go to Hendersonville High School. So, we are always going to have good golfers. With Bryce (Lewis), Jay (Welch), Clay (Marlin) and Hudson (Jones), there’s going to be continual success.
Hendersonville head coach Andy Gilley’s thoughts on Lancaster … Austin had perhaps one of the best individual seasons that a male golfer has had in a Hendersonville uniform. We have had golfers win state championships. We have had great leaders, but the things Austin did for this team as a leader and the season he had individually was tremendous. To watch him go toe to toe with – at the time the No. 1-ranked junior player in the world in Davis Shore and beat him in a playoff – was just incredible to watch. He followed that up with winning our invitational (tournament) and winning the individual region championship. Austin has been a winner in everything he’s done since I have known him. He competes like no other player we have had, and he is getting the most he possibly can out of his golf game. To see him totally dedicate himself to his game and his goal of playing in college last summer and it pay off like it has is a great lesson for all our younger players. Austin was a leader on our team this year in every possible meaning of the word. His example of senior leadership is going to pay off for us for years to come. He deserves any success that comes his way, and I am very proud to have coached this young man.
Reach Craig Harris firstname.lastname@example.org or at 615-575-7138. Follow him on Twitter @HarrisGNESports.
Previous Male Golfers of the Year
2014 Jacob Sherlin, Sr., Hendersonville
2013 Noah Trenkler, Sr., Hendersonville
2012 Austin Swafford, Sr., Gallatin
2011 Carson Jacobs, Sr., Hendersonville
2010 Carson Jacobs, Jr., Hendersonville
2009 Tanner Taddeo, Sr., Pope John Paul II and Trey Tarpley, Sr., Hendersonville
2008 Steven Fox, Sr., Hendersonville and Steve Lee, Sr., Hendersonville