Enterprise Golf Course is the home course to Suitland High School senior Jahmar Seltzer, a place he spends hours at during summers and golf season. When he doesn’t have class, it’s not unusual for him to spend 10 hours a day at the Mitchelville club.
On Tuesday, Seltzer reverted to his summer schedule: get to the course early, hit a few balls, putt around a little, play 18, eat, play some more. This time, however, the Prince George’s County championship was on the line. And for the first time, Seltzer came away with trophy in hand, even if it took more than eight hours at the course and 21 holes to earn it.
“I could play a couple more,” s smiling Seltzer said. “I could be here for 10 hours.”
Of the possible contenders for the individual bragging rights, few pegged it to boil down to a playoff between Seltzer, who has never qualified for the state tournament, and Oxon Hill freshman Morgan Miner, who wasn’t even on the team for the opening four matches of the season. The favorite coming in was Roosevelt’s Bryan Morris, the defending tournament champ who also tied for first with teammate Ishmail Jabbie during the regular season with a 37.14 average. Seltzer’s name has been perpetually in the mix, but there was always that one big number or nagging issue that kept him from turning the corner.
Miner, on the other hand, was an enigma. Even her own coach, Pua Ponafala, admitted to knowing little about her until Sept. 24, when the freshman fired a 38 on the front nine of a county match. Had somebody been told that there had been a playoff between Seltzer and an Oxon Hill player, the obvious answer would have been that the Clipper in contention was Demarkis Cooper, who authored a six shot win two weeks ago for the regional title.
“I knew I was capable,” said Miner, who qualified for the state tournament next week. “But I didn’t know I was going to be able to play on the team and all this was going to happen.”
It took a good six hours after the 9 a.m. tee time for the playoff to officially begin, pitting Jabbie, Miner, and Seltzer in a sudden-death match. After all three hit the first green, Jabbie’s 30-foot putt for birdie never broke as much as he played it for, and he left himself with a 4-foot comebacker for par, a putt he would never have to hit. Seltzer ran in his 20-footer for birdie dead center of the cup, leaving the freshman Clipper to answer from a few feet closer. Like Seltzer’s, her putt never had any doubt.
“That’s some courage,” Ponafala said. “If that were me, my knees would be shaking.”
The 18th hole provided no such fireworks, with both settling for bogeys, and it was back to No. 1. Again, two perfect drives and again, Seltzer knocked his wedge to a makeable distance. But, whether the nerves finally broke through or it was just a brief lapse in her swing, Miner caught hers thin, sending the ball screaming over the green, down a hill, and past several trees. Seltzer could have four-putted to win (he didn’t).
“What I kept saying was, ‘don’t give up, keep on fighting, you know, because you never know what you’re opponent is going to do,’” Seltzer said. “So I just stayed focused and finished.”