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SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: The Natural

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Thomas Pettus showed a knack for golf at a young age

By John Overby

Ever since he was a small child, Thomas Pettus has been very interested in golf.

And he can prove it.

“We have home videos of me playing golf when I could barely walk,” Pettus said. “I just took to it early on, I guess.”

He first started playing because his father, John Pettus, and his uncles played, and when they would take him along, he was fascinated by the mechanics of the game.

Moreover, he was intrigued by how his laid-back personality was a perfect fit for golf.

“I like to stay loose,” Pettus said, “and that helps a lot in golf because if you get a bad score or something and don’t get so angry—if you’re loose—you might not make that carry over to the next hole and do bad there. But if you get frustrated, you’re going to do the same thing on the next hole.”

Head Coach Bobby Bartholomai agrees.

“Thomas has got a really great attitude while he’s on the golf course, as far as keeping a level head,” Bartholomai said. “That’s a good trait to have when you can see somebody playing and you really don’t know if they’re playing good or bad just by watching their attitude. That’s the best strength to have while you’re playing golf.”

Once he got to Washington County High School, Pettus was able to fit seamlessly into the varsity squad, playing with the team as a freshman.

But it wasn’t until his sophomore year that he really began focusing on what he currently calls his greatest strength—his short game.

“I started practicing putting and chipping around the greens a lot during sophomore year and junior year, and now it’s pretty good because I’m not the strongest kid—I don’t hit the ball that far—so I better be good at something to be alright,” Pettus said.

His sophomore year also accounted for his fondest memory of being on the WC golf team.

The team was playing in the All-A Regional Tournament when they went into a one-hole playoff with Bethlehem.

WC would go on to beat them by six strokes and moved on state.

“It was a great moment for us because we showed that we could perform under pressure,” Pettus said.

Pettus has also played varsity basketball during his time at WC, and his golf game has helped him to become “more patient” in basketball when it comes to not forcing a shot.

And for the first time in his high school career, Pettus plans on playing baseball this spring. He had refrained from participating in the past because, according to him, “baseball kind of messes with your golf swing.”

“I played baseball in Little League, but I really wanted to focus on golf in high school,” Pettus said. “Since it’ll be my last year of playing golf, though, I won’t have to worry about it affecting my golf game or anything.”

Pettus hasn’t decided on his postgraduate plans, but he has narrowed down his college choices to Western Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University.

But whatever Pettus decides to do, Bartholomai knows that he will be a success.

“He’s really come along during his time playing for me,” Bartholomai said. “He’s a great golfer, but he’s also a great person. It’ll be nice to see where he ends up.”

And while he’s off at college, Pettus believes that he’ll miss the small-town and small-school atmospheres of Springfield and WC.

“If you go walking down the hallway or you’re going down Main Street, you pretty much know everyone you see,” Pettus said. “That’s how I grew up, and I kind of like that aspect here.

When I go off to college, I’ll be in a bigger town, I won’t hardly know anybody and I won’t know my way around. That will probably be tough to get adjusted to.”

But even more than the town and the school, he’ll miss his senior teammates on the golf team the most.

“We’ve been playing golf with each other for a while and we’ve been friends even longer, so I’m going to miss being on the team with those guys,” Pettus said. “Next year’s definitely going to be a change.”