Wheeling Park’s Obecny verbals to Central Florida

WHEELING – Thadd Obecny first swung a golf club at the ripe, old age of 2.

He’s not looked back since.

“My dad was a member at Belmont Hills and he would take me out every weekend and he’d sit the ball out at like 100 yards and let me play in,” Obecny recalled. “I’ve loved it ever since.”

He’s loved it, worked at it, improved on it and now he’s going to take his talents to the next level.

With two West Virginia state titles and three OVAC titles along with a host of other victories and accomplishments already on his resume, Obecny made a decision about his future Monday afternoon.

Obecny, the Wheeling Park junior, called University of Central Florida head coach Bryce Wallor and informed him that he was ready to offer a verbal commitment to continue his academic and golf career with the Knights in the fall of 2014.

“Most of my friends that I’ve made in national tournaments have been committing early, so I felt as if, if they were doing it, I’d better look into it, too,” Obecny said. “So, I just made the decision about UCF because I know that’s where I want to go and it’s the best place for me.”

Obecny visited the Orlando-based campus “earlier this year” on an unofficial visit and simply fell in love with everything about the Knights’ program.

“I liked the coach, the campus, the practice facilities are great and they play on really nice courses,” Obecny said. “I called Coach Wallor today after school and told him about my decision.

It wasn’t until age six when Obecny played his first national-level event, the U.S. Kids World Championship. He lost in a playoff after giving back a 2-shot lead with a double on the last hole.

“I was six years old, what do you expect?,” Obecny joked.

That shortcoming, however, has served as a bit of motivation.

Being an ultimate competitor, Obecny is hopeful to make an impact immediately for the Knights, but he’s fully aware that he’s got another year of high school play and summer tournaments to go.

“I still need to keep practicing and working on my game,” Obecny said. “I think I can help the team as a freshman. They’re going to lose four seniors, who are like the heart-and-soul of the team, so I feel like I can make a good impact.”

The areas of his game that Obecny feels like he needs to continue work the hardest on is with the longer irons.

“As a kid, I’ve had to hit longer irons into greens, but lately, I’ve been hitting the ball pretty far, so I have shorter irons in,” Obecny said.

“But, I’ve been struggling a little bit with my longer irons, but if I work that out, I can go as far as I want.”

Being in West Virginia in January and February kind of sets golfers back a bit because of the weather. Obecny still finds times to get out. He played Moundsville Country Club a few weeks ago and posted a round of 63. He’s actually hoping to play some this week with temperatures expected to rise.

“If you’re really focused on your game, you can make it work,” Obecny said. “There are indoor driving ranges, outdoor heated ranges, so you can work at it.”

With Obecny’s prep career winding down, he’s starting to take some time to look back on his laundry-list of accomplishments, but that rally from six shots down to win the state title as a frosh sticks out.

Prior to the prep season teeing off in early August, Obecny has a lot of golf ahead of him.

“I’ve not really made an exact schedule, but I’ll probably determine it in the next few weeks,” Obecny said.

Before settling on UCF, Obecny considered Auburn, UNC-Charlotte and Southern Mississippi.

Obecny is unsure still about what he plans to study. He’s leaning toward biology with hopes of becoming an anesthesiologist.

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleader-online.com