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It’s pretty often that young kids play multiple sports, then specialize in one sport as they get into high school and eventually college. Peninsula High School’s Preston Bebich is in the same mold, as any other kid who decides to whittle down his sport of choice to just one main focus.
Only this time, it’s not soccer or basketball or even football. It’s golf. Something he was doing before he entered Kindergarten.
“For my first Christmas that I remember, when I was like one, I got plastic clubs and I would just sit around in the backyard hitting the ball around.” Bebich said.
“Then I got this Snoopy set than came with a driver, one iron and a putter and I just remember hitting the plastic wiffle-ball around in the backyard all the time. Aiming at trees, my parents would tell me I would just hit for hours and hours. I played soccer for a little bit but I’ve always wanted to golf so I just stuck with that.”
Those hours of work have evolved and he is no longer is he aiming at trees or other backyard items, he is ranked No. 584 in the Amateur Junior Golf Association worldwide rankings.
He has competed in seven events since joining the tour in the summer of 2018 and finished in the top 40 in the last four events he participated in. Bebich returns to the famed Torrey Pines course for the second time in his career at the IMG Junior World Championships in San Diego, CA as the tournament runs from July 8 to 12.
The tournament is host to 1,200 boys and girls from 56 countries and 42 states and it is the largest junior golf championship in the world.
Bebich missed the cut in 2018 shooting +14 but this year he hopes to get some momentum as he was the highest local finisher at the Kyle Stanley Championship held at Canterwood Country Club last week, where he finished 12-over-par, tying him for ninth place, his highest on the amateur circuit.
Although he had a top-10 finish, his highest of the AJGA season so far, Bebich feels like he could’ve done a little more to move higher up the leader board.
“It wasn’t my best, we had tough pin locations and the greens were playing really tough,” Bebich said. “Honestly, I could’ve played better. I left a lot of shots out there and I wasn’t hitting it well off the tee and you can get punished there if you don’t hit it well off the tee. I will say that I finished better than I thought I would have.”
That drive and that need to hit a perfect shot or the right shot is something that Bebich, along with his coach Chris Schuart, the Director of Instruction at Canterwood Country Club have worked long and hard to master in their five years working together. Schucart has helped Preston shake off bad shots at the start of rounds and no longer is the first shot of the day setting solemn tone for Bebich’s round.
“For Preston, he wants to prove to people that he’s really good and he hates hitting bad shots, he hates it,” Schucart said. “That’s something we constantly work on, the acceptance of bad shots. It’s something that all kids do and go through and have to learn, you can’t hit it great all the time. One of his greatest attributes is the fact he hated hitting bad shots and now he’s hitting so many good shots, that he looks at the bad shots as a fluke.”