John F. Kennedy's Ryan Fowler had a very good freshman season for the Eagles last year. He had a stroke average of 81.4, was the medalist at the Brookfield Invitational and was named first team all-North Coast League and co-MVP of the team.
He has improved markedly in 2012, lowering his average by seven shots. He also has five second-place finishes in 18-hole invitationals and on Monday shot a 71 on the par-70 Yankee Run Golf Course to repeat as Brookfield Invitational champion, winning by five shots.
Fowler led the way for a team score of 303 as Kennedy rolled to a 51-shot victory in the event. Ursuline was second with a 354 and Brookfield took third with a 357.
The Eagles also took the top four spots in the individual standings, with Billy Phillips (76), James Lapolla (77) and Steven Macali (79) behind Fowler.
JFK improved to 64-11 this season in invitationals and 11-3 in dual matches. Today, Fowler will be leading the Eagles at the Division III sectional golf tournament at Riverview Golf Course.
"I started off OK," Fowler said of his round during the Brookfield Invitational. "Then I had trouble on the second hole but I bounced right back. I had some pars and birdies. I had a little trouble on 8 and 9. I told myself I'd come back on the back (nine) and I did."
Kennedy coach Jim St. George said Fowler's play at the Brookfield Invitational, and all season, has been consistent for the Eagles.
"Ryan had a two over 37 on the front nine but he came back very nice on the back," St. George said. "He had birdies on two of the last four holes. Ryan has been very consistent all year. He's our No. 1 guy with about a 74 average. He's one of the top scoring players in the Trumbull and Mahoning County area."
Fowler has been competing in American Junior Golf Association events throughout the midwest against the best youth golfers around. His best finish in those events was a 13th in June. St. George said playing against that level of competition has really helped Fowler's game.
"With the tough AJGA schedule he played this year, he's handled the No. 1 spot very well," St. George said. "He's definitely college material."
Kennedy just barely missed going to the state tournament last season, as a disqualification at districts caused the Eagles to come up short by two shots.
"I feel like we're stronger this year," Fowler said. "We have a chance to go to state and hopefully win it."
This season Fowler has had runner-up finishes at the JFK Invitational (shooting a 79), the Gran Invitational (73), Kenston Invitational (76), Calvert Invitational (72) and the Cardinal Classic (73) before breaking through with a 78 to medal at the Bishops Cup. St. George said Fowler has a chance to finish his career as one of the best boys golfers Kennedy has ever produced.
"He's still peaking," St. George said. "He's only a sophomore and to achieve these things he's definitely going in that direction. Ryan is right up there in that category with Boo Timko and Jason Kokrak."