At the young age of 12, Southmoreland student Josh Redding stepped onto a golf course to play for the very first time. As he got more involved it, he fell in love with the sport. As an addition to golf, Redding was also a soccer player. As his freshman year approached, he realized that soccer season runs right by golf season, so he made the decision to stick with golf. Little did he know that two years later he would find out he made the right decision.
“I’m so happy that I stuck with golf, because it took me so much further than soccer would have.” said Redding.
Redding and the rest of Southmoreland’s golf team has had very successful seasons for the past two years, winning the section championship with only one loss last year and an undefeated team this year. Midway through the 2016 season, the team had a change in their coaching staff. Southmoreland’s psychology/American issues teacher, Mr. David Keefer, took over the head coaching position for the rest of the season.
“I inherited a really good team,” said Mr. Keefer. “They were all great, but Josh always stood out as one of the stronger players.”
Mr. Keefer has been coaching high school athletics for years and has taken other athletes (football, track) to states in the past. This year, he will be able to keep that going with Redding.
After qualifying for the individual section match and the WPIAL tournament, Redding went onto the western Pennsylvania regionals, Redding’s score of 77 qualified him to continue on to the state level after winning a one-hole playoff.
“I’m so happy to say that I made it as far as I could go,” he said. “I feel like it was just meant to be.”
Most athletes, including Redding, would say that the only way to get where you want to be is to work for it. For Redding, he practices six days a week for at least two hours. But all the practice in the world couldn’t prepare him for what he had to face to qualify to states at the regional tournament.
On the first playoff hole, Redding’s tee shot landed in a fairway bunker about 150 yards from the green. Because he couldn’t see the green, Redding had to hit a “blind shot,” which landed several feet from the pin.
Redding said he decided to just “swing and hope for the best.” Fortunately, as Redding came out of the bunker after shooting the best he could, he looked to see his ball less than four feet from the hole. He made the birdie putt to send him on his way to the state tournament to be held Oct. 25 and 26 in York. He said he believes he is Southmoreland’s first golf state qualifier.
“All I can say is it gave me goosebumps,” said Mr. Keefer in describing his reaction to Redding’s shot.
“Even if I don’t win the state title, I’ll still be really proud of myself for how far I’ve come, and after it’s over, I can start to look for colleges I can attend,” Redding told the Tam O’Shanter.
After high school, Redding wants to attend a college where he can continue his golf career.
“Who knows what life has in store for me,” he said. But as long as I keep working, it can’t be anything less than what I want.”
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