Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Sports Person of the Week

O’Brien Seeing Immediate Success on the Links

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Freshman Jack O’Brien has been posting solid scores from the get-go during his first season as a member of the North Branford boys’ golf team. Photo courtesy of Jack O’Brien

Freshman Jack O’Brien has been posting solid scores from the get-go during his first season as a member of the North Branford boys’ golf team. (Photo courtesy of Jack O’Brien)

Jack O’Brien quickly realized how much he enjoyed golf as he played the sport with his family while growing up in North Branford. Now a freshman on the North Branford boys’ golf squad, Jack is making an immediate impact for the T-Birds and has already earned medalist honors on multiple occasions this spring.

Jack was already on the golf course at the age of two. Jack’s father Sean was always an avid golf fan, and the two of them would often go to the driving range or attend tournaments together. After learning the sport from his dad, Jack knew that golf was something he wanted to pursue as he got older.

“My dad played and he used to bring me to tournaments like the Traveler’s. I just loved the game,” Jack says. “He used to bring me to the golf course, and we would just play a lot. I joined the Wallingford Country Club last year and have been playing there a lot.”

Alongside his dad, Jack started playing golf with his grandparents Betty and Charlie at age eight. As an 8th-grader, Jack joined the PGA Junior League at Lyman Orchards and started competing in sanctioned tournaments for the first time.

“It was more of a competition, and I played against teams from different towns,” says Jack. “I really enjoyed it.”

Between playing with his family and competing in the Junior League, Jack feels that growing up as a golfer prepared him for what was to come when he joined the Thunderbirds. With every round that he played, Jack grew as a golfer, while learning more about both the sport and himself.

Jack is currently in the midst of his debut season with the North Branford golf team. While the high school game is a step up from the junior circuit, Jack is having a great time on the links this spring.

“It’s a lot more competitive than the PGA Junior League, but I really love it,” Jack says. “My teammates are great. I love the coach. I just really enjoy it.”

Jack is consistently finishing as one of North Branford’s top scorers in the team’s matches this year. In only the second match of his high school career, Jack posted North Branford’s lowest score with a 39 versus Cromwell at TPC River Highlands—the same course where his father would take him to watch the Traveler’s Championship. The next day, Jack shot a 43 to earn medalist honors as the low scorer of the meet overall when North Branford defeated Old Lyme for its first win of the season. Last week, Jack scored a 40 to once again finish as the medalist in the T-Birds’ victory over Haddam-Killingworth.

“I’ve been trying to work really hard. I just want to play my best and help my teammates out,” says Jack. “I’m just trying my best out there.”

Head Coach Andrew DaCorte says that Jack’s performance is proving crucial for the Thunderbirds this season. DaCorte describes Jack as a consistent golfer who is poised to continue improving as he spends more time in the North Branford program.

“Jack has brought a steady presence to the top of the lineup. You can always count on him to shoot in the low 40s, which is a big boost to the team,” DaCorte says. “The other players feed off his low scores and try to improve their game. His game is well-rounded, and we look for big things from him in the future.”

Jack goes to the driving range every day in order to improve his golf game. Jack appreciates how instrumental his teammates have been in his success during his first season with the T-Birds, along with the fact that they are quickly forming some strong bonds amongst each other.

“They’re great teammates. I really enjoy it,” says Jack, who’s also a member of the North Branford boys’ basketball team. “They’re good guys. We mess around on the bus to away games. It’s really fun.”

Jack wants to keep lowering his scores as he strives to become the best golfer that he can be for North Branford. While he isn’t sure where his golf will take him down the road, Jack is looking to provide a positive presence on the course as he continues his career with the T-Birds.

“I work really hard. I watch golf on TV, and I can learn from that,” Jack says. “I want to be the best I can and improve as much as I can through my golfing career. We’ll see where it takes me.”


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