Central York sophomore Carson Bacha won the York-Adams League golf championship Thursday at Briarwood by carding a round of even-par 72. Elijah Armold, York Dispatch
It’s already been an eventful summer for Central York High School golf standout Carson Bacha, and it’s not even half over.
Just more than two weeks ago, Bacha won the Pennsylvania Junior Boys’ Championship, which is generally regarded as the most prestigious junior golf tournament in the state.
Then, within the past several days, Bacha gave his verbal commitment to play college golf for Auburn University. The Alabama school just happens to boast one of the top NCAA Division I golf programs in the nation. The Tigers won the Southeastern Conference title last season and advanced to the national D-I match-play semifinals before falling 3-2 to top-seeded, and eventual national champ, Oklahoma State.
It’s been an exhilarating few weeks, especially for someone who just recently turned 16 years old and will only enter his junior year with the Panthers this fall.
“I was trying to choose a school that would provide me with the best opportunity to fulfill my two major goals,” Bacha said. “My first goal was to go to a bigger D-I school. My No. 2 goal is to turn pro someday and make it on the PGA Tour. At Auburn, I believe that’s a goal that can become reality.”
Bacha also said Auburn was a good fit personally.
“I had a good visit,” he said. “I liked the coaches. They have a family- and faith-based coaching style that fits well with myself and my family.”
Bacha said he chose the Tigers over another southern power, Clemson University.
Impressive resume: In Bacha, Auburn will get a player who has already compiled quite a junior resume.
The 5-foot, 7-inch, 155-pound Bacha is not an imposing figure on the golf course, but his golf game, however, is quite impressive.
He already owns three American Junior Golf Association championships, which he considers his most cherished victories to date. Bacha, however, said his recent state junior title at Hershey Country Club’s East Course is “certainly inside the top five” of his most treasured triumphs.
“Based on my play, it was solid, but I could’ve done better,” Bacha said of the Hershey event, when he shot a pair of even-par 71s for a two-day total of 142 and a two-shot win.
He had two Central York buddies (Coley Bagwell and George Drivas) caddie for him. Neither of those friends are golfers.
“They actually knew nothing about golf,” Bacha said, which made the experience more "fun."
Lots of support: Support like that is nothing unusual for Bacha. In fact, he said his support system is one of the big reasons he’s been able to accomplish so much at such a young age.
He said his biggest supporters are his parents, Kerri and Kevin.
He also gave credit to his swing coach, Ray Carazo, and his TaylorMade representative, Cory Johnson, who has been a big help with his equipment. Bacha also praised the folks at his home course at Out Door Country Club.
Carazo works out of Sorrento, Florida. Following a path blazed by former Central standout Joe Parrini (now at the University of Arizona), Bacha spends several months each winter in Florida working with Carazo and living with the Carazo family.
“We actually got the idea from the Parrinis,” Bacha said. “It’s a blessing to have that opportunity.”
During his time in Florida each winter, Bacha continues his Central York studies through cyber classes.
High school golf: Bacha is the defending York-Adams League champion, but he did not compete in the individual District 3 or PIAA events last season in order to compete in an AJGA event in Georgia.
That same scenario could happen again this year, but this season Bacha is leaning toward playing in the PIAA individual tournament instead.
He did compete in the district and PIAA team events last season, helping the Panthers to a second-place state finish in Class 3-A. Central lost seven seniors from that team.
“I still think we’re going to have a solid team,” Bacha said. “I think we have a great chance of making it back to states, and once you get there, anything can happen. But our focus is to get back to states.”
Before the high school season starts, however, Bacha has some more notable junior events lined up this summer, including the Bubba Conlee National in Tennessee.
Hectic schedule: That is just part of packed golf schedule for Bacha that’s featured approximately 30 tournaments in the past 18 months.
Not surprisingly, Bacha’s life consists largely of school, golf, family and friends.
“To get to the places where I want to get to, you have to make some sacrifices,” he said. “So I’ve given up all other sports, but I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Despite his hectic golf schedule, Bacha makes it a point to take an occasional break from the game.
“You need to get mentally refreshed,” he said. “My family and I have talked about the fact that your mind and your body need breaks. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both of my biggest wins last season came after vacations.”
— Reach Steve Heiser at email@example.com.