Trevor Werbylo and Gavin Cohen have almost the same build, like some of the same golfers, use some of the same clubs and attack the course with the same goal.
About the only difference are the schools they represent.
Werbylo, a Salpointe Catholic junior, was the boys Division II state runner-up in 2014, coming in six strokes behind Canyon del Oro’s Chris Meyers, who is now at Stanford. Meanwhile, Cohen, a junior from Catalina Foothills, tied for third place, 11 strokes off the lead.
Werbylo and Cohen aren’t just in a position to win an individual title — both have a shot at leading their team to a championship, as well.
The two standouts faced off last week for the first time this season, and it did not disappoint. Werbylo shot a 3-under 33, finishing two strokes ahead of Cohen as the host Lancers edged Foothills by three shots, 142-145, at Randolph Golf Course, the site of the boys Division II state championship in November.
The Star caught up with the pair after the showdown, and here’s what they had to say:
School: Salpointe Catholic
Vitals: Junior, 6 feet 1 inch, 150 pounds
2014 flashback: Werbylo was just one stoke from the lead at the state championship last fall after shooting a 3-under 69 on the first day. His second round didn’t go as well, though, leaving him at 2-under 142 through 36 holes. “I gained a lot of confidence after that. I knew that, if I played well, I could compete with anybody in the state.”
Summer recap: Werbylo kicked off his summer by playing in his first AJGA event, the Ping Phoenix Junior at ASU Karsten Golf Course in Tempe. He held a two-stroke lead after the first round finished in a three-way tie for fifth place. He also took third at both the JGAA State Junior Golf Championship and The Optimist International Junior Golf Championships.
College outlook: Still undecided. Werbylo said he’s spoken to Arizona and has sent a few emails to a handful of other schools. “I’ve been a UA fan my whole life, so it’d be cool to go there.”
Strength on the course: “Ball striking, probably; my iron game. I feel like, when I’m hitting my irons well, I can get in a pretty good rhythm.”
Struggle on the course: “My putter can be my friend and it can not be my friend. I have worked on it a lot in the last couple of years, and it’s gotten better. It’s kind of a love-hate relationship with my putter.”
Favorite golfer: Tiger Woods, to an extent. Werbylo has also gained an interest in younger players such as Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. “It’s pretty inspiring to see how good they are at such a young age. They’re not that much older than we are.”
Favorite course: Forest Highlands in Flagstaff. “I always love forest courses that have pine trees everywhere because it’s just so different than Tucson.”
Favorite club: Driver or pitching wedge.
Best class: “I like learning about history, but I’m good at math.”
Best other sport: Basketball. “I never took it too seriously — I played it for school and stuff — but outside of that, I never really practiced. I feel like I should have, because I like it a lot.”
Coachspeak: “He is so poised. If he has a bad shot, he doesn’t dwell on it. He just goes to the next shot and the next hole.
“His temperament is unbelievable.” — Salpointe coach Jim Flannery
School: Catalina Foothills
Vitals: Junior, 6 feet 1 inch, 150 pounds
2014 flashback: Cohen shot a 4-over 76 in the first round of the state championship, but rebounded the next day with a 1-under 71 to finish in a two-way tie for third place. “I didn’t really feel like I played my best, so I’m looking forward to this year.”
Summer recap: Cohen captured his first AJGA championship in mid-July when he shot a 9-under 207 over three rounds and survived a one-hole playoff to win an event in Owensboro, Kentucky. Then last month, he finished third at the Hogan Cup in Portland, Oregon.
College outlook: Not too long after his high school season wrapped up a year ago, Cohen gave a verbal commitment to play for Arizona after he was offered a scholarship. Pepperdine and TCU also showed interest.
Strength on the course: “I feel like I’m a pretty good short-game player. When I’m off the tee, it’s much easier for me. Definitely chipping and putting.”
Struggle on the course: “Driving, for sure. Just keeping it in play and keeping it in front of me.”
Favorite golfer: Cohen used to be a big fan of Woods, but said he now cheers for Spieth. “He’s definitely an inspiration on the course with his demeanor and his patience. I really like how he strategizes all over the course.”
Favorite course: Pebble Beach. Cohen played the course with his father sometime last year. “I don’t remember a whole lot about the golf, just the scenery, mainly. It’s pretty beautiful up there.”
Favorite club: Putter or his 9-iron. “I love my 9-iron.”
Best class: Math. Cohen is currently in Algebra II. “I like graphing.”
Best other sport: Baseball. He used to be a pitcher and shortstop before committing himself to golf. “Occasionally I wish I could still go out there an play, but golf is definitely the favorite.”
Coachspeak: “He’s the complete package. He’s a great ball striker, an amazing putter, and he’s got the mental fortitude to be a champion. I think it’s there for him, and if he plays to his potential, it’s going to come right down to the wire.” — Foothills coach Julie Walters