Jeannette golfer Wolfe finishes senior season strong
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To Jeroen Wolfe, much of his final season as a Jeannette High School golfer felt exactly the same as his other seasons on the course. But deep down, he knew it was coming to a close and late last week, he golfed his final match as a Jayhawk.
He shot a 39 during his final away match and spent his final ‘home' match actually playing at an away course due to scheduling issues.
The week before, Wolfe competed in the WPIAL championship match at Sewickley Heights Golf Club. He shot a 96, which was 12 strokes off the cut, but he enjoyed the experience.
“That course ate me for breakfast and lunch,” Wolfe said, with a laugh. “The (Greensburg) Country Club is the hardest course we play and it's our home course. (Sewickley Heights) was twice as hard as I'm used to.”
Wolfe was the first Jeannette player to qualify for the WPIAL championship in 12 years — he is literally the first player in a generation to compete so well as a Jayhawk.
“It feels cool. I really wanted to qualify and last year I came close. As a freshman, it was a goal and even then we knew it had been years,” said Wolfe, who would have been a toddler the last time a Jeannette golfer made it so far in competition.
Wolfe said freshman golfer Brent Billeck shot a 104 during qualifiers and missed the competition, but Wolfe believes Billeck is a better player than that score indicates and that he has a strong chance to improve to qualifying levels.
This year the team was low on numbers and there were many golfers who didn't get a chance to start, but Wolfe said the team overall is much improved and because the group is so young the players have a chance to grow together.
“They're already getting better,” he said.
Wolfe has been golfing since he was 8 years old — something that began for him in 2004 when he watched the Master's Tournament for the first time.
He watched Phil Mickelson and immediately became a fan. Wolfe said he picked Mickelson to win the tournament, rooting him on throughout the event and when Mickelson won — his first major championship — “I probably jumped higher than he (Mickelson) did and I teared up a bit. I thought maybe I should do this, too. And I started golfing.” Mickelson is still Wolfe's favorite golfer.
Aside from golfing, Wolfe is active at his church Cornerstone Ministries and has gone on mission trips with the church several times. He's spent time in Haiti, in Mexico and on an Apache reservation in Arizona. In Haiti, he works with a soccer camp for children and helps to organize a vacation Bible school.
He played soccer as a very young child, something he gave up for baseball. Eventually, he gave up baseball, too.
“I stopped when my baseball swing started looking like a golf swing,” Wolfe said, with a laugh.
After graduation in the spring, Wolfe hopes to attend St. Vincent College to study either electronic or electrical engineering. He would like to commute to the school to save money and hopes to join the golf team.
“They have a really good golf team,” said Wolfe. “If I make it on the team, I'll be happy.”
Toward that end, he hopes to spend a good bit of time working on his game. This past summer, he didn't have as much time to devote to golf because he spent time as a camp counselor, had two weeks during band camp where he plays bass drum, in addition to his time spent in Haiti.
He plays in a summer league run by his coach, Paul Shifko.
“He's a good coach, he's not a pro golfer but he's good with tips to improve,” said Wolfe. “This year, for the WPIALs, it was just us and that was good.
“I'd like to thank Coach Shifko for being a good coach and a good teacher,” he said. “I'd like to thank my mom for raising me, it was a big deal.” Wolfe is in drama club, Alpha Hi-Y, National Honor Society, chorus and is treasurer of the senior class.
He is the son of Susanna Wolfe and has a younger sister, Niah Wolfe.
Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 724-838-5154.
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