Latrobe grad Wears prepares for Loyola golf team

| Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 11:53 p.m.

After his prolific and well-decorated high school career came to a close, Will Wears turned his focus this summer to enhancing his golf game as college approaches in the fall.

Wears, a Latrobe graduate, finished his high school career by placing fourth with a 74 in the WPIAL championship at the Fox Chapel Golf Club in October.

Wears also had two 10th-place finishes and one 11th-place in his career for the WPIAL championships.

“It's just a hard process. I was proud of myself to get to the WPIAL championship all four years. It's really difficult to get through four qualifiers,” Wears said. “Through talking with the other recruits, other states have a totally different process. It's a grueling process.”

Wears, who will be attending Loyola University (Md.) in the fall, was named the Western Pennsylvania Junior Player of the Year in 2011, when he finished tied for third at the Pennsylvania Golf Association State Junior Championship. In 2012, Wears won the Westmoreland County High School championship.

Wears, who had a nine-hole average of 37.4 for his high school career, was part of the Wildcats' 2009 team that won WPIAL and PIAA team titles,

Wears finished with a final two-round score of 155 in the Tri-State Open held June 3-4 at the New Castle County Club. He finished with a 77 on June 10 at the Tam O'Shanter Open at the O'Shanter Golf Course.

“The thing is I'm in a weird spot. I can't play in a lot of tournaments, because I'm 18 years old,” Wears said. “I have to find a lot of qualifying events, which just means that there is a lot of grinding out at events and I'm forced to shoot low scores. You have to go low if you want to qualify for any events.”

Wears' schedule in July will be packed with different events such as the R. Jay Sigel Match Play Championship, the Westmoreland County Amateur, the Pennsylvania Open Qualifier and the US Amateur Qualifier.

“I'd say I need to prepare myself for what kind of tournament it is,” Wears said. “You have to assess what you want to with each tournament. It goes by a case-by-case basis.”

If all goes well, Wears will be able to qualify for the Pennsylvania Open, which is August 12-14 at Commonwealth National Golf Club. He will finish his summer by going to a few Tri-State events to prepare for Loyola (Md.) in the fall.

Wears will look to improve his drive this summer.

“I want to drive it as straight as I can. It doesn't do you any good to hit it long and crooked,” Wears said. “I may want to sacrifice distance for straightness. When you know you can control it off the tee, it's a big confidence boost. Then I don't need to worry about using a wood or iron.”

Wears believes by leading by example and will try to do just that at Loyola despite being an incoming freshman.

“If you lead by example and play really well, then people will start to look up to you. People will start to see what you did to get to that point and what numbers you shoot.”

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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