This past weekend at Blue Mountain Golf Course in Fredericksburg, Logan Francis and Ben Allwein became two of the youngest local players ever to compete in the annual Lebanon County Amateur Golf Championship.
Some 10 years younger than the rest of the field, Allwein, a 12-year-old rising seventh-grader and resident of Annville, and Francis, a 15-year-old rising sophomore and resident of Annville, each gave pretty good accounts of their young selves by finishing near the middle of the pack.
Allwein posted an 84 during Sunday’s second round after opening the tournament with an 83 on Saturday. Francis also carded an 83 during the first round before following up with an 86 in Sunday’s final round.
“I don’t think it went very good,” said Francis, who enjoyed success last fall as a freshman on the Annville-Cleona golf team. “I didn’t shoot the score I wanted to. I would’ve liked to shoot in the 70s. I wanted to be happy with my score. But it was my first time at Blue Mountain.”
“I played pretty good,” said Allwein. “But I thought I could’ve done better. I never really get nervous. I was excited, not knowing what was going to happen. I just wanted to have fun.”
It was both Allwein and Francis’ first-ever appearance in the official championship of Lebanon County amateur golf. But they both hit the links often – as many as 50 rounds in the summer – and they both play a lot of tournament golf and golf together.
For a Lebanon County amateur tournament seeking more competitors and more young players, their presence was a surprising shot in the arm.
“It was partially because of my dad,” said Allwein, of father Steve Allwein. “He said, ‘I’m going to sign up for the county amateur.’ And I said, ‘What is it?’ And he said, ‘It’s a tournament that mostly adults play in.’ I asked him, ‘Can I sign up?’ I was like, ‘Why not? I can do it.’ Then my dad asked Logan if he wanted to play.”
“I had no clue about it,” added Allwein. “I just wanted to be in a golf tournament instead of being at home. I just wanted to see what I can do.”
“I heard Ben and Steve were playing in it,” said Francis. “I knew some of the people playing in it from the (Lebanon) Country Club. I thought it would give me experience for the future. Any competition, the better. The more I compete, the calmer I’ll be.”
“I just heard about it,” continued Francis. “I really wasn’t nervous because I was playing with Ben. I play in a lot of tournaments.”
Seemingly unfazed by playing in an event they had never heard of or on a course they had never seen, neither Francis nor Allwein was bothered by playing against full-grown, seasoned competitors.
“They have more experience,” said Francis. “But nothing really changes for me. It doesn’t scare me or intimidate me.”
“It’s definitely different,” said Allwein. “Just how people can hit the ball further. But it’s not the worst thing. I think it’s fun. If you play against people like you, you can’t get better.”
Both Allwein and Francis’ games have come a long way since they started playing golf about three years ago. Each seems to have the dedication and commitment to get better, as well as the required enthusiasm and energy.
“My dad says he put a club in my hands when I was two,” said Allwein. “But I really got into it when I started playing with Logan when I was eight or nine. There’s definitely been a change in distance because I’ve gotten bigger. My scores have gone down.”
“I’ve improved a lot,” said Francis. “In my first year starting, I was shooting in the hundreds. In the second year, I was consistently in the 90s. And in my third year, I was in the 80s. Now, I’m almost consistently in the 70s. I’ve gained distance, and my short game has improved.”
At this point in their development, their future goals for the game seem lofty. But one should never underestimate the power of dreams, especially young ones.
“Golf is my main sport,” said Francis. “I’d like to play golf in college. I have to play as much as possible and get noticed. I just want to keep practicing every day and maybe get lessons. I need to focus on my short game and see where that takes me.”
“I’m not really sure,” said Allwein. “I think about it a little bit. I’d almost like to take it to the PGA (tour).”
Questions about this story? Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Reach our newsroom using this contact form and we’ll do our best to get back to you.
Do you want to see more from LebTown?
Support local news. Cancel anytime.
Already a member? Login here
Free news isn’t cheap. If you value the journalism LebTown provides to the community, then help us make it sustainable by becoming a champion of local news. You can unlock additional coverage for the community by supporting our work with a one-time contribution, or joining as a monthly or annual member. You can cancel anytime.