Will Leach is one of the few, the proud, the Ram golfers, to sign to play collegiate golf.

Leach, a senior, signed on Thursday to play collegiate golf at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. Centre is a NCAA Division-III college.

In Shelbyville High School history, few golfers have signed to play college gold or even played college golf. One of those golfers was Will Leach’s father Bill Leach, back in 1990. He signed to play for Murray State.

Eric Johnston signed about 1999 and played for Central Iowa. Erica Firnhaber also signed and played at Florida State. Garrett Manship did not sign, but played golf all four years at Rose-Hulman.

Will Leach was a state-qualifier as a junior and missed state by just 2 strokes this season, shooting an 84 at sectional one stroke better than his regional performance.

Leach shot 80 at sectional as a junior and advanced to State. Leach’s state tournament experience included a snow storm. In round 2, Leach shot an 88 (45/43) with 6 pars and 9 bogeys.

As a sophomore Leach shot 84 at regional and advanced. He shot an 86 at sectional. As a freshman, Leach was a starter, shooting under 50, on a team that was 8th out of 12 teams at regional.

Leach’s SHS golf coach, John Tynan was impressed with Leach’s work ethic.

“He knew how hard he had to work to get to this level,” Tynan said. ‘I don’t think he took a day off all summer. He has worked at it for 4 years.”

When asked about Leach’s game, Tynan had some thoughts.

“His strengths are definitely around the green,” Tynan said. “His chipping and putting were his strengths.”

Leach wasn’t always sold on golf, but he came around.

“All of my family plays golf,” Leach said. “I wasn’t that in to it, but in high school I wanted to play golf and I fell in love with it. It’s a different sport to play. I like that its how you play and not dependent on how your team plays.”

A D-III doesn’t offer athletic scholarships. So who would Leach pick to play for? Leach said he chose Centre College because of their academics.

“Their academic program is one of the top in the country,” Leach said. “I had an uncle attend their, so I knew of it. I was on a recruiting website. I cotacte them and they followed me on the website. They said my golf game fit them: mys cores, putts, swing mechanics and that I can hold my own on the golf course.”

His father Bill Leach also made that observation.

“He has a good attitude most of the time,” Bill Leach said. “If he has a bad shot, he can put it behind him.”

Will Leach said he also liked the home feel of the campus, as well as having a good coach and good team. Centre is losing four seniors from this year’s squad. So Leach has a shot to play the Top 6.

Leach is going to study bio-chemistry and hopes to be an occupational therapist with a specialty in arthritis.

Who helped get Leach to this point?

“My family and my friends,’ Leach said. And my swing coach, Mike Moncel, the Eastern Head Golf Coach. I contacted him four years ago and he coached me on my swing about once a week. It’s important to stay on your swing. I had an injury and I had to work through it with his help.”

Centre College has a scheduled match at Millikin University this spring, April 18, 19.

John Curtis can be reached at john.curtis@shelbyvilledailyunion.com

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