Playing high school golf has been a great experience for Ryan Gerard.
The Ravenscroft junior is 23rd in the North Carolina junior boys’ current rankings. He won two American Junior Golf Association tournaments last season with an invitational victory at the Polo Golf Junior Classic and the 2015 Midwest Junior Players Championship.
Gerard has also already committed to UNC.
This high school season, he’s shot several rounds under par and has been the medalist in nearly every Ravenscroft match. For Gerard, he’s out there having fun with his friends.
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“High school matches, they’re a lot different than tournaments that I usually play in,” he said. “It’s like I can go out and play with one of my good friends, I’m playing a golf course that I’m somewhat familiar with and it’s really easy for me to sit back and relax a little bit. That could potentially lead to lower scores.”
Gerard got his first set of golf clubs at 2-years old; they were much shorter than the ones he uses 14 years later.
“My dad used to play and got me started,” Gerard said. “He really kept me into it. That really gave me a jump start in my career.”
Gerard said Carolina wooed him as a ninth-grader. He said the coaching staff made him feel like he was already part of the family. Gerard said his performances in national tournaments put him on the map and made it possible for him to golf at the school of his choice.
Some of his favorite professional golfers also attended UNC.
“A combination of things really made me want to go to Carolina,” Gerard said.
He’s remained dedicated to his sport for more than a decade because he has a chance to represent Raleigh like some of the golfers from the area he looks up to.
He said, “watching people, especially on TV, especially people from Raleigh like Webb Simpson and Chesson Hadley knowing … I can do what they did” has been good motivation.
He hopes to return the favor in the coming years for younger golfers.
“This city is amazing; I love it here,” Gerard said. “I love growing up here. I love playing golf here. I think it’d be really cool, especially for some of the younger kids to look up to me and say ‘Hey, I knew him at one point. I can do what he did.’ That would be kind of set the tone for North Carolina golf in the future.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan
Fun fact: Plays violin in the school orchestra