Sewickley Academy graduates boost college golf programs
Sewickley Academy graduate and Carnegie Mellon junior men’s golfer Jason Li took the summer off to do an internship, but it has not affected his game.
Li, 20, a Sewickley resident, broke the school record for the lowest individual round with a 5-under par 66 on the back nine in the second round of the Golfweek Division III Fall Invitational tournament Oct. 12-15 in Florida.
He led the Tartans with a three-round 206 (69-66-71).
Li was the Tartans’ top scorer in two earlier events.
“Not being in the competitive grind (was) good,” Li said.
Li, a 2019 Division III Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award semifinalist and the University Athletic Association’s co-player of the year, said he is trying to be more consistent.
Li made history last season, when he became the Tartans’ first PING First Team All-American after tying for 11th in the NCAA championship. The Tartans placed 11th in the event to cap their best season.
Tartan coach Dan Rodgers has said Li, the 2014 PIAA Class AA and 2015 WPIAL individual champion, has the potential to be a NCAA champion.
“Jason has improved his attitude on the golf course so much in the last few years,” Rodgers said. “His ability to let bad shots go and focus on the good shots is what has separated him from the rest of the pack.
“He has continued to work on his game, focusing in on his short game.”
Sewickley Academy graduate and Rochester junior Declan Hickton had a solid round of his own, firing a 2-under par 69 in the second day of the Williams Fall Invitational Sept. 21-22 in Massachusetts. He ended the tournament with a team-best total 144 (75-69).
Hickton, 20, a Thornburg product, said he has improved in many areas.
“(I have) been focusing on the mental approach and staying patient in every round,” he said. “Fall has been a little disappointing because I know I can perform at a higher level.”
Yellowjacket coach Dan Wesley said Hickton is managing his game more effectively.
“He has a better understanding of where his misses tend to go and is approaching each golf course with a more efficient game plan,” Wesley said. “In college ball, this is a valuable asset.”
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.