Senior Pilarski carries men’s golf to ninth place in Clarion Invitational

The sun is barely up, but senior Jake Pilarski is already on the green. While you are still sleeping or rushing to your 8 a.m. class, Pilarski is busy getting ready for his next tournament.

Pilarski is a senior International Relations major with a minor in Spanish, but golf is his real area of focus. Every day that he hits the greens, Pilarski is focused on one thing – going pro. His goal is a difficult one, but Pilarski is up for the challenge.

“I really want to be a professional golfer. I haven’t really thought outside of the whole golf thing, because mentally, if you’re out of it, you’re out of it,” Pilarski said.

Sydney Cuscino photo: Pilarski ends a hole at the Clarion University Invitational.Sydney Cuscino photo: Pilarski ends a hole at the Clarion University Invitational.

Like many athletes, Pilarski picked up his sport at a young age. His grandfather was a major influence on his understanding and appreciation for the game.

“My grandfather taught me how to play the game when I was six years old. I looked forward to going to the golf course every Friday morning with him, it was the best,” said Pilarski. “It’s my dream to make it into the PGA Tour and look up to my grandfather and say ‘You brought me here, you helped me get this far.’ It will always remain my motivation every time I hit the course.”

In the Clarion University Invitational on Sept. 9 and 10, Pilarski led the golf team to a ninth place finish, shooting a combination of 150 during the series. Sophomore Cory Vinborg and junior Evan Watkins also performed well, both scoring just +5 behind Pilarski.

Pilarski struggled during his first round of the day, and relied on his teammates to get him back into the game.

“I had a tough first round and couldn’t really get anything going. I had a couple guys check my swing out, and by the second round I was ready to go and make some moves,” Pilarski said.

As an upperclassman, Pilarski understands his responsibility as a role model for his teammates. Being an example to the younger players pushes Pilarski to always be improving.

“If the younger guys don’t have someone to look up to and see improvement through dedicated practice, then they won’t have anything to look forward to,” Pilarski said.

Pilarski is optimistic about the rest of the season.

“I want to win tournaments. The team’s game is there, we just need to make sure we keep it together,” Pilarski said.

This past Monday, Sept. 17, the Lakers placed 14th at the 39th Annual Guy W. Kuhn Invitational in Meadville. On Sept. 18, the team will travel to Coshocton, Ohio for the NCAA Atlantic Regionals.