School may be out for summer, but Gibault golfer Sam Range is certainly not taking a break from his golf game.
Range, 16, is preparing for his senior high school golf season by participating in several junior tournaments across the country.
“It really prepares you for the next level,” Range said of his busy summer tourney schedule. “It’s huge for getting noticed by college coaches.”
At Gibault, Range has qualified for state as an individual in each of his first three seasons. He will try to make it four state golf appearances this fall.
In the meantime, the son of Craig and Aimee Range is playing in some high visibility tournaments. Sam recently played in the Bubba Conlee National Junior Golf Tournament in Memphis, Tenn., which is an invitational event featuring 120 of the top young golfers in the region.
Range performed well in the tourney, shooting rounds of 76, 76, and 79.
In fact, Range’s shooting average this year is 76, and he is currently ranked 29th out of all junior golfers in Illinois.
Among the highlights of Range’s 11 tournament appearances so far this summer include shooting a two under par 70 in the first round of the Plantations Junior Golf Tour tourney at The Rail in Springfield, playing in his first American Junior Golf Association tourney in Dallas, placing sixth in a U.S. Junior Golf Tour event in Memphis, and placing 11th in the PJGT Tour Championship event in West Lafayette, Ind.
On Tuesday, Range played in the USGA qualifier, which is a 36-hole, one day tourney.
Next up for Range is the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship, which takes place July 24-29 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He qualified for this international tourney through his performance at a Missouri Optimist event June 12 at Aberdeen Golf Course in Eureka, Mo.
“I’ve been in a few national events, but never an international event such as this one,” Range said. “I’m pretty excited about the opportunity.”
Range credits his father for introducing him to the sport he loves and for getting him involved in tournaments.
As for his golfing strengths, Range admits he is not among the longest hitters out there, but his short game makes up for it.
“The thing that helps me compete is the short game,” he said.
Range has been working with swing coach Bob Tays of Gateway National Golf Course in Madison since May 2013, and said he has noticed improvement in his game.
Once the summer is complete, Range will be ready to hit the links for his final golf season at Gibault with the hope of attracting attention from the college ranks and taking his game to the next level.