By Kevin Connelly
It’s easy to be jealous over a professional golfer’s schedule.
Augusta, Ga., one week. Pebble Beach, Calif., a few weeks later. St. Andrews, Scotland the next.
While a pair of local junior golfers can’t match that type of travel, they’re putting together an impressive checklist of destinations. And they haven’t even started high school yet.
Boardman’s Brian Terlesky, 14, and Canfield’s Cole Christman, 13, spent the past year traveling the country for a variety of golf events. Although not together.
Terlesky recently participated in the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour’s College Prep Series, where he placed 12th at a tournament at Kent State and lost in a playoff in another outside Cleveland.
“I’m going through a swing change right now, but I’ve been hitting the ball a lot better,” said Terlesky, who is preparing for Saturday’s Greatest Golfer of the Valley junior qualifier. “I been coming over the top with my down swing. We worked a lot fixing that and it’s coming along.”
The 2012 Greatest Juniors champion will make his 2014 debut on Saturday at Mohawk Trails Golf Course in New Castle, Pa. He missed the year’s first junior qualifier because of the event at Kent State, but he feels his swing is nearing where he would like it to be for competition.
“This is probably one of the most major [swing changes] I’ve made,” Terlesky said. “I’ve grown about three inches (now 5-foot-6) in the last couple months and that really changes things.”
Saturday’s qualifier at Mohawk Trails is the second of six Greatest Juniors qualifier events created by The Vindicator, and its partners Farmers National Bank, Covelli Enterprises and Superior Beverage.
The first four to qualify for the championship at Avalon Lakes Golf Club on July 27 were Billy Colbert (boys, U-17), Connor Stevens (boys, U-14), Kaylee Neumeister (girls, U-17) and Hannah Keffler (girls, U-14).
“I’m glad to be back, playing close to home,” Terlesky said. “It’s nice to have some friends and family there.”
He’ll also be playing against his buddy Christman, who’s been busy traveling himself.
Christman played in a number of Golf Week Magazine tournaments, which have taken him all across the midwest and southeast.
In the past year, he’s played in events in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana. As well as North Carolina, Florida and Alabama.
“I’ve gone a lot of places,” he said with a laugh. “The biggest difference [in the south] is the weather. It’s nice year-round down there so the courses are a little bit nicer.
Christman’s home course is Kennsington Golf Club in Canfield, where he tries to get out and practice almost every day.
“My goal is to try and play my best and win,” said Christman, who won a qualifier last year, but hasn’t been an overall champion yet. “It’ll be a good challenge.”
What has the potential to turn into an entertaining local golf rivalry as they grow older, has maintained a friendly one to start, according to Christman.
“Oh no, we’re friends,” Christman said, referring to he and Terlesky. “We play together a fair amount. It’s actually really good. I don’t have to put as much stress on my parents to get me out to play.
“I know a lot of people to play golf with, but having someone as good as me is nice.”
A change to the junior series this year involves qualifying for the finals. Just six of 12 finalists will earn spots by winning qualifiers. The other six in each division will reach the finals based on points earned during the series.