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Southwest Orange Thursday, Jul. 19, 2018 4 years ago

Sports Spotlight - Windermere Observer: Jonah Leach

Olympia High golfer Jonah Leach won a U.S. Amateur Open Qualifier July 12 in Howey-in-the-Hills.
by: Steven Ryzewski Former Sports Editor

Jonah Leach, a rising junior at Olympia High, punched a ticket to the U.S. Amateur Open in Pebble Beach, California, next month, when he won a qualifying event July 12 at Mission Inn in Howey-in-the-Hills. Leach’s 138 topped the two runners-up, who each turned in a 139. The U.S. Amateur is schedule for Aug. 13 to 19 and will be nationally broadcast by Fox and FS1.


Were you surprised at how well you played at the U.S. Amateur Qualifier?

I had pretty low expectations going into it, because a lot of good players were playing. But then, after the first round, I knew that I could definitely get in. It wasn’t that much of a surprise — I knew I could do it — but it’s not like I expected to do that. That could change my game if I had high expectations.


What was it like once you realized you had won?

If you had told me that I was going to the U.S. Am (Amateur), years ago, I would have never believed you. It’s pretty cool, because I worked so hard, and I got the results.


Can you offer any tips for playing Mission Inn?

I knew that the greens were really tricky. If you hit the middle of the green, it can still be tough to two-putt. … There’s a ton of trees in the course, so if you just keep it in the fairway, you’ll have a good shot. 


What is your mentality going to be at Pebble Beach?

I know I have nothing to lose. It’s not like I was expected to get here in the first place. I’m just going to play to have fun.


What do you enjoy about playing for Olympia High?

I think it’s really cool because you have people to support. … When you have people to support and people to support you, it’s pretty cool.


How old were you when you got serious about golf?

I told my parents that I wanted to play on the PGA Tour when I was about 8 — they’ve supported me all the way. It’s a “no looking back” thing.


Who is a professional golfer who you admire?

Definitely Jason Day. He’s very strong mentally and his swing is very smooth — almost perfect. … I actually, three years ago, got to talk to him for five minutes at Bay Hill.


What’s your favorite subject in school?

I’m more of a math and science type of person. I really love math — it’s really interesting. I had a math teacher for two-years straight … he really got me to like math. His name was Francisco Chaparro-Torress. 

What’s the last good you watched?

I recently just saw “Ant-Man and the Wasp” in theater. I really liked that movie. I saw the first one a while ago, and I was waiting for this one.

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Steven Ryzewski was the Sports Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and Southwest Orange Observer....

See All Articles by Steven

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