Braden Wheeler, the four-time reigning junior club champion at the Deep River Golf Club, has found a home where he can pursue golf at the collegiate level.
Wheeler, 17, has signed his Letter of Intent to attend Southeast Community College in Beatrice, Nebraska.
“We are extremely excited to add Braden to our 2016/17 golf team,” Southeast Storm golf coach Bill Campbell told Flagstick. “Braden has the big three that we look for in a golfer: physical talent, work ethic, and personal accountability. Braden had a great visit to our campus, and fit in well with our freshman class, it was an easy decision to offer him one of my two remaining scholarships. We look to extending our streak of 12 straight trips to the national tournament this year, and with Braden’s help, far into the future.”
The Storm golf team competes in Division II of the National junior College Athletic Association.
Supporting Wheeler in his pursuit of a scholarship was his coach, Chris Learmonth, the PGA of Canada Professional at the Perth Golf Club, who met the teen when he was the pro at Deep River GC. Learmonth has worked with Braden for the last four years and says he has seen nothing but progress in the youth during that time.
“He’s just improved every year,” Learmonth told Flagstick. “He’d added distance every year. His scoring, short game, and his attitude have also improved a lot in that time. He just does not get flustered on the golf course now.”
Wheeler has had strong success in the Ottawa Valley and his play at the 2015 Ontario Teams Championship generated college interest, according to Learmonth. The pro actually accompanied his protégé on a 4200 kilometre road trip to Nebraska to check out the school he ultimately decided on.
Braden had offers from a number of schools but went with Southeast after he felt comfortable during his visit to the town. It has just over 12,000 residents and there are about 1,000 students at the local campus. He joins a golf team that already has an international flavour with players from Australia and Ireland.
Wheeler will return to Beatrice late this summer, this time without his golf coach, to begin his freshman year and a whole new chapter in his golfing life.