North Xtra: Fox Chapel golfer eyeing shot at Junior Ryder Cup

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Next month, Patrick Sheerer will begin his college golfing career in Olean, N.Y., at St. Bonaventure University.

But first, Sheerer will get a chance to qualify for the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team.

Sheerer, a 2014 Fox Chapel Area High School graduate, shot a 70 and 72 in his two rounds at the Tri-State Junior PGA Championship qualifier June 18 at the par-72 Fox Run Golf Course near Beaver Falls to qualify for the Junior PGA Championships July 29 to Aug. 1 in Bryan-College Station, Texas.

He added to his impressive resume last week, winning a King's Junior Series event for the Boys 17-18 age group at Cedarbrook's Red Course in Rostraver, shooting a 5-under-par 66.

Sheerer was quite analytical in describing his round at Fox Run.

"The biggest thing was my patience," Sheerer said. "In the first round, I had 16 pars and two birdies. I gave myself a lot of chances, just didn't make a lot. But I stayed patient.

"And in the second round, I had five birdies and five bogeys. Obviously, I had more bogeys [than in the first round], but I didn't let them get me down. I stayed patient and didn't let the heat get to me."

The golfers had to play all 36 holes in one day in sweltering heat, which affected some of the scores in Round 2. For instance, Sheerer entered the final 18 holes trailing Kyle Grube by one shot, but Grube shot an 80 during the second round to finish in a tie for 10th.

Now Sheerer is preparing to play at Miramont Country Club at the end of the month. The winner and runner-up of both the boys and girls division will get exemptions onto the U.S. team for the ninth Junior Ryder Cup Sept. 18-25 at Blairgowrie Golf Club in Perthshire, Scotland.

"I'm very excited for it," Sheerer said. "A lot of it will come down to putting. I'm very consistent in my ball-striking -- tee to green is definitely the best part of my game. I'm going to focus on giving myself birdie chances and hopefully I'll make some.

"I have pretty high expectations."

Sheerer's confidence not only comes from his performance at Fox Run last month, but also a senior season that saw him finish fifth in the WPIAL Class AAA championship and tied for the 10th in the PIAA tournament.

His level of play helped him earn an offer to play college golf at St. Bonaventure, and he signed his national letter of intent with the Bonnies in November.

"I definitely didn't pick it for location," Sheerer said. "You don't move even farther north from Pittsburgh for golf. But what originally drew me to the program was the coach, John Powers. He was young and energetic and I thought he could help me get better.

"Also, I'm going to be a business major and they just rebuilt their business school, with it opening in 2013."

But Sheerer recently received some bad news. Powers decided to resign from his post as Bonnies coach to caddie for his sister, Caroline Powers, on the LPGA Tour. He was replaced by Erik Hoops.

Sheerer was originally disappointed to learn Powers would not be coaching him, but, after talking with a few current Bonnies who have already met Hoops, Sheerer is feeling better about the coaching change. Sheerer said he'll speak with Hoops for the first time this week.

Hoops can expect to get a player who is ready to contribute immediately in the fall.

"I think both sides have expectations that I'll play well and help the team," Sheerer said. "I was recruited for my personality and my golf talent.

"I'm continuing to get better this summer and I'm going to come in and continue to get better there. I think I'll keep helping the team more and more as time goes on."

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