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Transfer ready to compete for Northern Illinois men's golf

Published: Thursday, June 26, 2014 10:45 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, June 26, 2014 10:50 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Shaw Media file photo)
Jordan Wetsch, a 2011 St. Charles East graduate, says he is ready to settle in to the end of his collegiate career after transferring to Northern Illinois.

Jordan Wetsch recently learned the value of slowing himself down on the golf course.

Nothing like having family on hand to help drive a concept home.

With his younger brother, Jake, caddying in his usual leisurely style, Wetsch scored an even par 68 over 17 holes at a June 16 Illinois Open qualifier at Inverness. The former St. Charles East standout tied for fourth with just one practice round under his belt, moving on to the July 21 to 23 Open at The Glen Club in Glenview.

“It was kind of clicking that day,” Wetsch said. “Nothing really much to it.”

Wetsch hopes to cling to that laid-back style as he prepares for the latest turn in his college career. He figures it’s in his best interests.

After transferring from Wisconsin to Colorado State after one semester with the Badgers, Wetsch now enters his first season at Northern Illinois as a redshirt junior.

Moving to a third school cost him a year of eligibility, but Wetsch views the opportunity to compete under Huskies coach Tim Porten, an acquaintance during his junior days, as a clean slate.

“Looking forward to giving some help not only on the course there but also just kind of using some of the knowledge I’ve already gained through a few years of college and helping out these youngsters here,” Wetsch said. “Looking forward to it.”

Yup, Wetsch called his peers “youngsters” even though he only turned 21 two months ago. He’s just three years removed from East and 31/2 removed from his final shots as a prep golfer, when he finished three strokes from making a playoff for the Class AA state title.

Five of the Huskies’ eight golfers were freshmen last season, a prospect that invigorates Wetsch along with his new home course, Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove.

One message to the Huskies figures to sound like something they probably already heard at orientation: Diversify yourself.

As Wetsch transitioned from high school to Wisconsin to Colorado State, he found himself to be too one-dimensional, pursuing only golf and few other outside interests. He left Wisconsin after one semester, discovering it wasn’t for him, but didn’t completely accomplish his goals of toning things down when he arrived at Colorado State.

Wetsch called his experience with the Rams enjoyable but did not compete last season, transferring again as scholarship funds and out-of-state tuition tightened.

Enter an opportunity with Porten and the Huskies, in familiar surroundings not far from home.

“I kind of looked back and I was kind of really getting too consumed by golf. So I had to kind of step back and kind of work on balancing not just golf but everything from social life to education to everything, you know,” Wetsch said. “For the first couple years, it kind of took me a little while, maybe longer than others, but I’ve finally figured it out. I feel comfortable with where I’m at. Pretty confident about going out strong here.”

Embracing a chance to practice what he preaches, Wetsch is juggling his summer tournament slate with a community college business course before the fall semester.

It has helped him reach relaxation even when his brother’s gait isn’t contributing toward that end, too.

“I’ve been really working on the attitude,” Wetsch said. “I figure if the attitude’s in check, then you can’t go wrong from there.”

Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Shaw Media. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or kdruley@shawmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kevindruley.

CHIP-IN

On Corn and Crowns This year’s Sugar Grove Corn Boil coincides with the inaugural LPGA International Crown, giving staff at Rich Harvest Farms a natural opportunity to offer fans a taste of what’s coming their way.

While Caves Valley in Owings Mills, Maryland, will host the inaugural Crown from July 21 to 27, Rich Harvest Farms will have the event – composed of 32 players from eight countries – in 2016.

As a result, organizers of Rich Harvest Farms’ Corn Boil tent plan to offer TVs tuned to the International Crown. The Corn Boil runs from July 25 to 27.

The Crown will feature teams from the United States, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Spain, Sweden, Chinese Taipei and Australia and Caves Valley. The event captures the worldly reach of women’s golf more efficiently than the complementary U.S.-versus-Europe Solheim Cup, which Rich Harvest Farms hosted in 2009.

Michelle Wie, part of Team USA then, won the U.S. Women’s Open this past weekend.

In April, Rich Harvest Farms owner and Northern Illinois alumn Jerry Rich said course officials were seeking corporate sponsorship to make RHF the Crown’s permanent host.

Kevin Druley, kdruley@shawmedia.com

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