SPRING CREEK – To say Spring Creek senior golfer Daniel Mahlke has already had a storied career in an understatement.
He has accomplished everything a golfer can achieve at the high school level, notching remarkable achievements since he was a freshman.
Now, he has one less thing to worry about when he swings into his final season for the Spartans; knowing where he will attend college.
Mahlke has chosen to play his collegiate golf for the University of Jamestown in North Dakota.
“I’m glad I made a decision early. Now, I can just focus on the season and not have to worry about schools,” Mahlke said.
As a freshman, Mahlke was named the Division I-A North MVP.
An up-and-down in golf is a good thing, but most people would be thrilled with Mahlke’s down season by his standards, one in which he finished as the league runner-up to the MVP during his sophomore season – a year he placed seventh at the state tournament.
As a junior, Mahlke would be denied nothing less than another league MVP – his second in three seasons – leading the Spartans to another regional championship.
At the state level, Mahlke and Spring Creek each got over the hump – winning the 2017 Division 3A Nevada State Boys Golf Championship with a 54-stroke cushion over Boulder City.
The Spartans finished with a two-day total of 815, easily besting the Eagles’ card of 869.
The state championship was not the only hardware Mahlke hauled home in the short trip from Spring Creek Golf Course – also adding the individual state title.
In the 2017 state tourney, Mahlke was as consistent as death and taxes – carding consecutive rounds of 75 – winning the championship by four strokes over Boulder City’s Kyler Atkinson with a two-day total of 150.
Even more impressive than Mahlke’s back-to-back 75s was the fact he played the second round in a full-blown wind from the southwest.
On the 18th hole, he eyed an uphill shot with the wind blowing in his face and across his body to the left – hazards on both sides.
He took an aggressive line and hammered his approach shot with an iron, settling the ball just beyond the hole on the flat surface of the green.
Mahlke calmly booked the state title with a dead-eye birdie putt, the perfect ending to a perfect season, the Spartans winning every competitive tournament of the season – capping the dominant run in front of the Spring Creek faithful.
His father and Spring Creek assistant, Travis Mahlke, graduated from the University of Jamestown.
“My dad is from there, and my grandma lives there too,” Daniel Mahlke said. “So, I just emailed the coach and we connected really well.”
“I grew up there and still have a lot of connections there, so I feel pretty comfortable with Daniel going somewhere that I know so many people. He will be very well taken care of,” Travis Mahlke said. “The town is a lot like Elko as far as size and it has a real hometown-ish feel. The golf program was not as competitive say 15 years or so ago as it is now, but the kids have been putting up some pretty impressive scores.”
Daniel Mahlke also had interest from and contact with Southwestern Oregon Community College (Coos Bay), Simpson University in Redding, California; College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California; and Napa Valley College in Helena, California.
The Jimmies will not only earn a talented and proven golfer, but also someone who is driven and continually wants to improve.
“I think I have improved the most in my course management, not making stupid decisions,” he said. “I’ve also gotten a lot better at not getting down on myself and focusing more on the next shot. I hope I can be a good contributor for the golf team at Jamestown. They have a good program.”
Mahkle plans to study business management and marketing, thinking like a true golfer – he wants to become a PGA tour professional and manage a golf course someday.
He does not know which course he sees himself at in the future or even a general region of the country, although he is leaving open the chance to “come back and run a course around here and help coach the golf team.”
With the pressure of a collegiate decision off his shoulders and out of his mind, Mahlke’s focus will return to aiding the Spartans in their defense of a state championship, also looking to repeat as the individual title holder – Spring Creek bringing back key pieces of their 2017 team for the ’18 season.
Congratulations to Daniel Mahlke on all his personal accomplishments, best of luck in his senior season at Spring Creek High School and best wishes in the collegiate tournaments while playing for the University of Jamestown.