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Sewickley resident Ben Kennedy to play golf at Point Park

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Submitted
Eric Poplowski (left) and Sewickley resident Ben Kennedy will compete for the Point Park golf team.

Playing college golf didn't seem to be in the cards for Sewickley native Ben Kennedy.

The Pittsburgh Central Catholic grad attended a semester at Indiana (Pa.) University and didn't feel it was the right fit. When he transferred to the Community College of Allegheny County North campus, there was a high school friend who convinced him to try out for the golf team.

“My buddy, Paul Ajak from Central Catholic, said I should give it a try,” Kennedy said. “I thought I would give it a try and have a good time.”

It turned out to be a good move, as Kennedy — along with CCAC teammate Eric Poplowski — committed to continue their golf careers at Point Park last month. Both will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Kennedy will look to use the experience he acquired at CCAC to help continue the success Point Park has found. He credits Huskies coach Chuck Bell with helping him strengthen his concentration.

“I learned to focus on the task at hand and not get ahead of myself,” Kennedy said. “My coach helped me keep my head in the game. He helped keep my golf game where it should be.”

Kennedy's improvements led to a breakout year in the 2012-13 season. He finished sixth at the NJCAA Region 20 tournament to earn a trip to the NJCAA Division II national tournament in Scottsboro, Ala.

“I went in doing the best I can and posted the score I should,” Kennedy said. “The experience in itself to actually play in a competition like that against top-notch golfers from across the country was great. It drives me to get better.”

Kennedy will be joining a Point Park team that has had considerable success. The program, was reinstated in 2009 after a 37-year hiatus. The Pioneers won the KIAC Tournament this past season and finished 22nd at that NAIA national tournament.

Point Park loses two seniors from that squad and coach Gabe Bubon expects the two-man recruiting class to fill in the void.

“We don't think we are rebuilding but reloading,” Bubon said. “We were looking for maturity with this recruiting class after losing two seniors. You take a chance when you bring in freshmen but with (Kennedy) and (Poplowski), you get proven success at the collegiate level.”

While he has a few months until Point Park gets its season under way, Kennedy isn't planing on taking a break from the sport.

“I play out of Sewickley Heights,” Kennedy said. “I am there every single day for hours on end practicing hitting balls.”

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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