For the first time in more than 10 years, a Shaler Area male golfer has qualified for the State Championship.
Junior Tanner Grzegorczyk did not even qualify for the WPIAL playoffs last season which motivated him for this year. It lit that spark that put his mind in the right place and focused on improving.
“This year was a great opportunity. Not only for states but because I haven’t made it past the second round of WPIAL’s since my freshman year,” Grzegorczyk said.
The one day WPIAL Championship was held at Oakmont Country Club which just hosted the PGA’s U.S. Open, and Grzegorczyk shot a 76 at the Championship. His score at Oakmont was better than some of the world’s great golfers that played there like Rory McIlroy who shot a 77 on the first day of the 2016 U.S. Open.
“It was amazing knowing there were a lot of big time people that have won there.”
The day of the WPIAL Championship was a cold and windy one. This just added to the challenges that Oakmont brings to all of it’s players.
“It was very windy and cold that day, so I had to adjust. The fairways are very tight and then after you leave the fairway you move right onto some really fast greens,” Grzegorczyk said.
He then moved on to the State Qualifier at Tom’s Run Golf Course in Blairsville where he shot a 75 which enabled him to move on to the State Championship held at Heritage Hills Golf Resort located in York, Pennsylvania.
At the Championship Grzegorczyk managed to shoot back to back 80s during the two-day tournament. He finished tied for 23rd in the PIAA class 3A individual State Championship.
“I think Heritage Hills was a harder course. The greens were faster, and it was windy and cold both days,” Grzegorczyk said, when asked about what the course was like compared to Oakmont.
Grzegorczyk works on improving his game throughout the year, there really is no-season for golf. Living in Pittsburgh that can be tough during the winter but he manages to travel to places like Florida and Arizona so he can continue to play.
“Golf is a huge part of my life,” Grzegorczyk said.
This year alone Grzegorczyk will be traveling to Florida, Arizona, Georgia and probably farther along the west coast for some tournaments. With an injury last year he missed out on traveling and improving, but this year Grzegorczyk is expecting to be back to the normal traveling over the winter months of 2016 and early 2017.
Through all of the time Grzegorczyk has spent on golf, his Shaler coach John Brough, has been nothing but happy about all of his success.
“I was extremely excited to see him perform as well as I knew he could. It’s tough to see a player work as hard as Tanner and fall short of what he is capable of, for example last year. Each round leading up to states offered more of a challenge. It was exhilarating watching him overcome such adversity, especially playing at Oakmont. It was an honor to be there and see him perform so well,” Brough said.
Brough has also said Grzegorczyk is the best player he has coached so far at Shaler Area. He believes Grzegorczyk is one of the best around for his age and if he continues to work hard there is no limit on what he can accomplish.
Next year brings another year where he will continue to improve his game and he hopes to finish even better than he did this year.
“Next year brings some challenges; I am going to not only work on myself but with the kids on my team so we all can have great opportunities. Next year is going to be fun, and I plan to help make it that way,” he said.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Louis Raggiunti, Trib Total Media