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Athlete Of The Week: WALLENPAUPACK GOLFER ALEX PILLAR

August 20, 2018

The Wallenpaupack senior shot a 5-under-par 67 with a birdie on the final hole to win the Jackman Memorial Golf Tournament on Thursday, edging Abington Heights’ Troy Kelleher by one shot. Age: 17 Family: Mother, Eileen; father, John Sr.; brothers, John Jr. and Kyle Other sport you play: Basketball Any rituals or superstitions? I have a normal routine for the most part I do every day on the range. The last few times I’ve played, I’ve gotten the same thing from Dunkin’ Donuts every time, so I told my parents, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll get breakfast at Dunkin.’ Three people you’d like to have dinner with? Definitely Brooks Koepka —- he’s my favorite golfer, Arnold Palmer and Seth Rogan. Have you had a chance to reflect on being the Jackman champion? I have because of all the people who’ve congratulated me. And being the second set of brothers to win, it was cool having Kyle show up to watch me. Although when he showed up I made my first bogey of the day. But I made a birdie to back it up. It’s a pretty cool feeling. Do you enjoy what you and Troy bring out in each other? I do. The Jackman was fun. I knew after nine holes it was kind of going to be a match between Troy and I. I didn’t think over par, under par, I was thinking, ‘I’m 1-up on Troy.’ I was thinking it was like match play we play in high school, and it’s what it turned out to be. The 20-footer on No. 18 for birdie — biggest putt you’ve ever made? In school golf, yes. It was a good putt to make. I’m glad it went in because I would have had a little tester coming back. Kyle said you have been working every day on your wedge game. I try to. All the courses we play around here are not very long. And I’m a fairly long hitter and I realized I’m not going to be hitting many 7-irons, 8-irons. Every time I’d hit driver I’d have a weird yardage and I couldn’t hit the shot and it was costing me shots earlier in the year. All the practicing I’ve done, it’s been paying off, getting within 10, 15 feet, which is a range you can make birdies most of the time. Your dad is the director of golf at Woodloch Springs, John Jr. and Kyle play, so at what age did you realize you’re going to be a golfer? After my eighth-grade year I was starting to play better. Freshman year came and it was cool. We competed a lot. Because middle school, you just practice a lot. Freshman year you play 16, 17 matches and I knew we had a good team. Making it to states that year was pretty cool. We had an undefeated season. I thought this is a lot more fun that just going around every day hitting range balls. You’re on the verge of winning the most matches in school history. It would be cool and an honor to set a record that hasn’t been broken in some time. Have you started to think about colleges for golf? My goal is to play four years of college golf at a Division I or II school. Obviously go southern, so I can play more often. But I’m also waiting until my senior season is done so I’ll hopefully have a lot more scores for the better to send out. What’s the best piece of golf advice your dad has offered? You’re going to have your ups and downs. Keep it on a level basis. Lately I’ve been doing that a lot and it’s helping. A couple years ago I would get mad about a bad shot and it would hurt me in the end. Now, I feel why I’m shooting better scores is when I get myself in trouble, I can get out of it and still make a par. I’m not making any stupid mistakes. So what are the goals for this year? I’m just hoping to finish well in every step I make, and obviously make it to states is a goal as a senior. Districts will be a little harder this year. You have Dallas with Logan (Paczewski), and Ethan (Zawatski), Troy and Connor (Kelleher), and Franco (Pazzaglia). There are a lot of good players. It’s going to be fun. For more from the interview, check out timestribuneblogs.com/high-school-sports

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