Ex-Altoona standout Perry remains on rise

Chris Perry, one of the best young golfers in the area, continued his great play this summer by capturing the stroke-play championship at Park Hills Country Club over the weekend.

Previously, the 24-year old Perry also teamed with good friend Mike Macionsky to capture both the Park Hills Classic and Summit Invitational within the past month.

Perry was introduced to the game of golf at a young age by his father, Greg, who played at Sinking Valley and later worked at the club.

“From the time I was 6 years old, I remember going to the course with my dad,” Perry said. “It was great getting to spend summer days at Sinking Valley, practicing and playing.”

An early influence of Perry’s was Sinking Valley head pro Jim Gillam, who took the young boy under his wing.

“I remember Jim Gillam giving me a club and letting me hit balls. He was always encouraging me,” Perry said.

Perry progressed to become a standout golfer on the Altoona Area High School team. He was also a basketball and baseball player before injuries eventually slowed his play in those sports. After graduating high school, Perry spent a semester attending UPJ before transferring to Penn State Altoona.

During his sophomore year in 2009, Perry decided to join the golf team, playing for coach Tom Koehle’s squad of talented young golfers.

“Chris was a really solid golfer for us,” Koehle said. “He posted so many great scores for the team, yet he was so unassuming and laid back.”

During his first year of competition, Perry’s strong character came to the forefront. While competing in the season-ending conference championships, Perry inadvertently discovered that he had broken an obscure rule, and without hesitation, he quickly alerted tournament officials and called a penalty on himself.

While his team eventually lost a close battle for the conference title, Koehle was understandably proud of his star golfer.

“Chris felt awful, but I was so proud of him for doing the right thing,” Koehle said.

As a result of that particular incident, Perry received the NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award for the 2009-10 academic year, a prestigious national award selected on the basis of sportsmanship and ethical code.

Perry went on to complete successful junior and senior years at Penn State Altoona, earning his degree in elementary education, while being named to the all-conference team. During this same time, he was also competing as one of the best golfers at Sinking Valley.

In 2011, Perry found himself in a tight club championship battle at Sinking Valley with stalwarts Artie Fink Jr. and Benny DelBaggio. In a furious finish, Perry closed with a birdie on the last hole to win by a single shot.

Around that same time, he began partnering with Macionsky, a 2010 Hollidaysburg graduate, to compete in area best-ball tournaments. The duo broke through quickly, winning the Summit Invitational in 2012.

As the 2014 summer began to unfold, Perry and Macionsky hit their stride by capturing the prestigious Park Hills Classic in July, followed by a second victory at Summit Country Club earlier this month.

After these victories, Perry’s impressive run continued. This past weekend at Park Hills, Perry posted scores of 71 and 66 to win that club’s stroke-play championship. He finished the tournament five strokes better than defending champ Todd Homan.

The two are good friends and compete together often.

“Chris is a first-class young man,” Homan said. “He’s such a talented young golfer, yet so humble and respectful. He’s going to be a top competitor in our area for years to come.”