Jurecic’s dream was to play in a PGA event and he did it at the Sanford International
Math teacher leaves behind career to pursue professional golf, makes first start in Sioux Falls
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -I love inspirational stories. And that’s exactly what we have with our Athlete of the week. He quit his job after 20 plus years as a school teacher to pursue his dream. And it brought him to the Sanford International for his first-ever Champions Tour event along-side guys he’d always watched on television.
Former Michigan math teacher Jay Jurecic says, ”I was just hitting balls on the range with Freddie Couples and he was my favorite golfer starting out in the early 90′s. It’s amazing to see a guy you followed and wanted to emulate his swing and his rhythm and he’s playing the same event as me, or I’m playing the same event as him.”
And to make the field at the Sanford International Jay had to make the top 5 in a pre qualifier and then the top 4 last Tuesday at Bakker Crossing where he shot a 61. Needless to say, that even caught the attention of the Champions Tour players like Tom Byrum. “What he’s doing is great. He Monday qualified and now he’s got a chance to see how well he can play with some of the best players in the world at our age,” says the Onida native.
Jay knows he can always go back to teaching in his home town in Michigan. But he just had to give this a try. It will never be a what if in his life. “I’ve worked really hard for a long time to have an opportunity like this so I’m really looking forward to it.”
And he had the full support of his friend and family and even his students. In fact, he’s hoping this can be somewhat of a teaching moment for them to take chances in life. To go for it! Jay says, “You’re going to have success and failures. When you lose it’s not necessarily a failure, it’s a chance for learning. You can learn from your mistakes. So it’s kind of like taking that math test that everyone’s nervous about. If you prepare for it, it you study for it, you did your best, let the grade be what it is.”
He was hoping to make the top ten and be the highest qualifier to gain a spot in the next tournament at Pebble Beach. But this was certainly a big step towards becoming a professional golfer. He got a chance to play with an again the best players in the world. And they thought it was great!
Jay’s favorite player Fred Couples was impressed. ”This guy could come out here and do well. 61 is just not pot luck to go out and do that. And it’s not easy. So there’s a name to look for and maybe he’l continue to try and Monday qualify and get out and play a few more events. But it’s cool.”
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