Golf records spark competition between friends

Sophomore golfers Brody Hval, left, and Avery Keating, right, met in high school, becoming close friends after realizing they both planned on attending Chapman.

Sophomore Avery Keating broke Chapman’s lowest round score record at the California State Intercollegiate in 2017, finishing the round five under par. Almost a year later, his close friend, sophomore Brody Hval, broke the same record at the same tournament.

Hval, a business major, had the lowest round and lowest two-round score in Chapman golf history and led the men’s golf team to a third-place finish at the California State Intercollegiate on Sept. 17.

Both born into professional golf families, Hval and Keating, an economics major, played in golf tournaments together while attending separate high schools in Oregon. Once they found out they were both going to Chapman, they started to become friends, Keating said.

Keating said after playing with Brody in high school, they found a connection through attending Chapman.

“I played golf with Brody when I was in high school, but we weren’t really acquainted,” Keating said. “And then we started to know each other more when we both figured out we were going here.”

Keating found out about Hval’s record-breaking match while scrolling through Instagram, he said.

“I was like, ‘Oh, Brody broke that record. Maybe I should try to break it (again),’” Keating said. “And then that’s all that I thought about it.”

Though Keating is supportive of Hval, he still wants to take back his title, said Ming Lao, head coach of Chapman’s golf team.

“I think Avery wants to be that guy,” Lao said. “And that’s not bad. But I think he was happy for Brody.”

Lao said the team is always trying to one-up each other, but “never to the point where (they) would wish evil on anybody.”

Hval was mature about the win, and stayed in the moment despite his excitement, Lao said.

“I think everyone respects (Hval) because he’s nice and he works hard,” Lao said.

Lao said Hval is the team’s “rock” because of his structured playing style and consistency. Growing up, Hval played multiple sports: baseball, soccer, football and basketball, he said, but his love for golf, encouraged by his father, caused Hval to quit  those other sports.

“I also did co-ed soccer with all my friends, but I was terrible — I got a yellow card for dancing,” Hval said.

Hval moved back to Portland in seventh grade after living in Chicago, Illinois for nine years. After moving, he lost all his friends while struggling to adapt to a new place.

He had to readjust again while transitioning to college.

“Golf is my one-hundred percent. My focus was on trying to get in the groove of the college lifestyle,” Hval said.

Though he is following in his father’s footsteps, Hval said his parents and coaches never pushed him to the point where he no longer enjoyed the game. He said they were laid-back but always wanted him to do well, and they understood what he needed to do to improve in practices and tournaments.

When it comes to Keating and Hval’s dynamic as teammates, Coach Lao said they have a playful relationship.

“They’re like (an) old married couple, they fight and they get along,” Lao said. “It (gets) old sometimes, but they never really get mad at each other, even though they bicker.”

Keating and Hval share the same sense of humor, and like the same sports, but not the same sports teams, Keating said.

“He’s just so happy and funny. It’s hard not to just love him,” Keating said of Hval.

Lao said he is grateful they came to Chapman and connected through golf.

“They’re always chirping at each other,” Lao said. “But I’m really glad they came together in that class from the same location because I think it’s pretty tight knit in Oregon (…) I’m just glad they’re here together.”