One of the finest emerging golfers in our area is recent Hollidaysburg Area High School graduate Jordan Kirsch.
The 18-year-old has spent a good part of this summer competing in the Tri-State PGA Junior Series of golf events, and with his two first-place finishes last week, Kirsch has already earned enough points to wrap up player of the year honors - despite one tournament still left on the schedule.
Kirsch began playing golf at an early age.
Photo for the Mirror by Ken Love
Jordan Kirsch is the recipient of the Tri-State PGA Junior player-of-the-year honor.
His parents and grandparents were members at Park Hills Country Club, and a young Jordan would often tag along - hitting balls and making putts. Kirsch played other sports over the years, including basketball and tennis, but he was always drawn back to golf.
"Golf has always been my favorite sport," he said. "I love the fact that every day - and every round - is different. Plus, if you work hard enough, you can turn your weaknesses into strengths."
A strong work ethic has always been a constant theme in Kirsch's development. As a freshman on his high school team, Kirsch's average score was somewhere around 90. By his senior year, the Golden Tiger golfer was regularly posting rounds in the mid 70s.
Hollidaysburg golf coach Bryan James witnessed Kirsch's steady improvement.
"Jordan is one of the hardest working young golfers I've been around," James said. "He has a great golf swing and his attitude on the course is fantastic - patient but aggressive at the right times."
Considering the significant progress he's made through his high school years, Kirsch's competitive play over the past two months has been even more remarkable. He has compiled quite a resume while competing in this summer's Tri-State PGA Junior Tournaments - a highly competitive series of junior events sponsored by King's Restaurants and based in western Pennsylvania.
Kirsch has dominated the competitions this season, winning six of the 11 events he's entered. In his other five tournaments, he finished second twice, third twice and fifth once.
The final event of this series will be the season-ending Tri-State PGA Junior Championship scheduled to be played next Wednesday at the prestigious Mystic Rock course at Nemacolin Resort near Pittsburgh.
There, Kirsch will be presented with the Tri-State PGA Junior player of the year award for his outstanding play over the entire summer series - one of the most significant junior golf awards in the mid-Atlantic region.
Over the summer, he'll also be playing in several other junior events as he works on a golf game that continues to improve.
"I really enjoy practicing and working on all parts of my game," Kirsch said. "Going to the course and working to fix a swing problem is something I look forward to. It's helped me become a better ball striker and a better all-around golfer."
All of Kirsch's hard work will serve him as he is set to attend Messiah College (located in Mechanicsburg) in the fall. As a member of the Falcons' golf team, he'll be competing against the likes of Franklin & Marshall, Bucknell and Ursinus, among other squads in the Middle Atlantic Conference.
Kirsch is looking to be a contributing member of Messiah's already highly successful golf team.
"I expect that Jordon will play really well at the next level," James said. "He has all the tools and a great work ethic too."