Thadd Obecny has known for quite some time where he would be heading to continue his golfing career at the next level.
Earlier this week, during the NCAA's early signing period, Obecny made it official by inking his National Letter of Intent to play golf at the University of Central Florida.
"Even though I've known for a while that I'd be going to UCF, it was still exciting to sign and make it official," Obecny said. "
Obecny, who spent three years as Wheeling Park's top player, will graduate in the spring with a diploma that reads, "Florida Virtual School."
Wishing to invest more time in his golf game, Obecny elected to enroll in the online school, which allows him to take his classes in the morning over the Internet and have his afternoons free to head to the links.
"I had debated it for a few years," Obecny said. "There are a bunch of kids who I played with at the national level who do this, so it's not that rare."
Adjusting to his new schedule took some time, but he was certainly pulling for the Patriots, who notched another Class AAA state golf title last month at Oglebay Park.
"I missed the high school season a little bit and I am really glad Park won the state title again," Obecny said. "I am still friends with the guys on the team, but this way lets me practice a bunch more, and I've been making good use of it."
Without the high school tournaments, Obecny maintained his competitive edge by playing in several high-level junior and amateur tournaments during the fall.
He's playing in the South Beach Amateur in Miami from Dec. 17-23.
"I am going to be heading down to Florida earlier in the month to get some practice in because obviously with the weather changing up here, all of the ranges are going to be closed soon," Obecny said.
After the holidays, Obecny will continue to play in more amateur events than junior events since he's already signed for his future.
Obecny played in the U.S. Junior Amateur in California during the summer and also played in the Junior PGA Championship. He was the runnerup in the West Virginia Amateur.
"I think I've improved one or two shots a year since I was 13," Obecny said, "I am averaging about a 70 for a round now. Playing against and with such great players on the national level has helped make me a better player. It's such a grind out there because you have to keep the ball in play and make birdies."
Despite the steady progress, Obecny knows there's still plenty of room for additional improvement.
"My short game is where I continue to focus," Obecny said. "It was great in the middle of the summer, but it always seems to get worse in the fall. I just need to be more consistent."