06/08/04 — Golfer of the Year -- Jonathan Greene

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Golfer of the Year -- Jonathan Greene

By David Williams
Published in Sports on June 8, 2004 1:56 PM

When he was 11 years old, Jonathan Greene decided to try playing golf. When he was in the eighth grade, he decided to play golf at Wayne Christian School -- coached by the father of one of his good friends, former PGA Tour pro Clarence Rose.

That's when golf got to be a lot more important to Greene -- and just as much fun.

Greene has been the centerpiece of Wayne Christian's rise as a private school golf power. The son of Steve and Diane Greene of Goldsboro, Jonathan's left-handed approach to the game has propelled him to a leadership position with the Eagle golf team.

Wayne Christian went 18-0 on the season, snapped up its fourth straight Carolina Conference championship and was runner-up for the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A championship. And Greene's game was a major reason why Wayne Christian should contend for another title next spring.

Those impeccable credentials game Greene the nod as the 2004 News-Argus Boys Golfer of the Year.

Greene, a rising senior, had one of those humbling starts to his season. He shot a nine-hole score of 43 in a match. Under Rose's tutelage, he began to see himself as the leader Wayne Christian needed.

The southpaw began to focus his game, and his scores dropped. He spent the rest of the season shooting mid-30s scores, with a few rounds at 35.

Greene's strong point is a solid driver, which he said is more aimed at being accurate than being long.

"Straight is better," he said. "I'd rather shoot from the fairway then from the rough."

Greene acknowledged that while his driver propels his game, the short game holds him back.

"That's something that will come with more practice and more rounds," said Rose. "He needs to start scoring with the wedge and the putter."

When Greene was a boy, he played baseball but grew tired of it quickly. He went out on the course with his father a few times and enjoyed the game. But striking up a friendship with Clark Rose, two years his junior, set him on the way to a greater appreciation for the game.

"He took us to the Greater Greensboro Open," Greene said. "I watched the players on the practice range and I learned a lot."

While at Forest Oaks, Rose arranged for Greene meet one of his golfing favorites -- Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters champion.

Being around the PGA environment gave Greene a greater appreciation for golf. He now wants to play golf in college and eventually play on the Tour himself. If he cannot make the Tour, Greene still wants to be involved in golf for his adult life.

He may get his collegiate opportunity. Both Anderson College and Mount Olive College - Rose's alma mater -- have expressed an interest in Greene as he enters his senior season.

Greene has his own goals for his senior year -- chiefly, to avenge the nine-stroke loss Wayne Christian endured to eventual state 1-A champion Northeast of Roanoke Rapids at the state tournament.

This summer, Greene will play an ambitious schedule of junior tournaments all over the Carolinas, including the prestigious Big I Classic, and a golf camp at Clemson or with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

In his spare time, he is learning about the other side of golf by working at Walnut Creek Country Club. He gets to spend family time with his parents and nine-year-old sister Christina.

But plans for improvement won't keep him from sharing a round with his friends -- Clark Rose, Matt Davis, Eric Williams and a few others.

After all, even the coach knows golf is supposed to be fun.