Thomas Jefferson golfer set for WPIAL championship appearance
Thomas Jefferson golfer Adam Patrick is taking a more measured approach on the course this year.
So far it has worked out well, as the additional time spent on his shots has added some time to his season.
Patrick will compete at the WPIAL Class AAA individual championship Wednesday at Diamond Run Golf Club in Sewickley. His group tees off at 9 a.m. and includes Sasha Lobel of Allderdice and Mars' Ben Mullins.
“I'm just taking my time a little bit more,” Patrick said. “I'm really focusing on taking a nice, smooth swing.
“Typically, a golf round takes four and a half hours, but your only swinging for about five minutes. All the time you're sitting around you have to be mentally prepared for your next shot.”
Patrick, who shot 78 and finished third in the section qualifier at 3 Lakes Golf Course, scored a 76 in the WPIAL semifinals at Youghiogheny Country Club on Sept. 24 to qualify for the finals. As a junior, he missed the cut at the section tournament. Advancing past that point this year was the boost he needed.
“I didn't have too high of a confidence after I came in, but that first round built me up,” he said. “It was huge. With this being my last year and my last chance to do something, you just want to keep the season going as long as you can.”
The finals provide a new challenge at the Diamond Run course. Thomas Jefferson coach Adam Shosky has reviewed the layout and sees it as one that plays to his golfer's favor — even if the unfamiliar course provides a few challenges along the way.
“It's within his yardage and he has good iron play,” Shosky said. “I think he's going to be able to navigate around it.
“He's just really consistent. He doesn't really spray the ball that much, so he doesn't get himself in trouble much. And if he does, he has all the shots that can get him out it. You don't make it this far without being able to work your way out of trouble. I can see him getting up and down from pretty much everywhere.”
Amidst his stellar individual run, Patrick is also playing for a Jaguars team that racked up a 13-1 record through Sunday. The three-time medalist averages a 39. Patrick is one of seven close-knit seniors and is enjoying the team's run just as much as his own.
“They're great, they keep me motivated and I can't wait for the team finals,” he said.
Until then, he will continue with what has worked so well: Taking it slow and enjoying the ride.
“It just feels great,” Patrick said. “When your team's doing good, you feel great. When you're doing good, you feel great. Things couldn't be going better for me right now.”
The top 14 finishers Wednesday advance to the PIAA West Regional Oct. 16 at Tom's Run Golf Course in Blairsville.
Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.