Prairie Ridge senior Charlie Pettrone had a whirlwind finish to his final high school season, qualifying for his second straight Class 2A state tournament and committing to Bowling Green in a span of three days.
But when you ask Pettrone about his favorite memories, it almost always comes back to the good times spent on and off the course with his best friends and teammates.
“Senior night was tough,” Pettrone said. “Coach (Jonathan) Powell gave his farewell to all the seniors. I’ll definitely remember making my final putt at state, realizing it was my last stroke as a high school athlete.
“But I’ll always remember the guys on the team and the fun we had. That’s what sticks out the most.”
Although Prairie Ridge came up a shot short of qualifying for the state tournament as a team, it still was a memorable year for the Wolves and Pettrone.
Pettrone placed third at regionals with a 72 and tied for seventh at sectionals with a 75 to end up back at the state tournament. He also won his second consecutive Fox Valley Conference individual title and was the only golfer at conference to shoot under par with a 1-under 70.
Pettrone ended his sensational high school career with an 85 in the first round of the state tournament, making a birdie putt on the par-4, 404-yard No. 9 at Weibring Golf Club in Normal.
For his standout season, Pettrone was voted the 2023 Northwest Herald Boys Golfer of the Year by the sports staff with input from area coaches. Pettrone also won the award in 2022.
Pettrone spoke with sports writer Alex Kantecki about his favorite memories from his senior season, his dream job, getting a hole-in-one twice with the same club and more.
What are you most proud about this season?
Pettrone: I’m just proud in our team’s hard work and the overall success we had throughout the season. Our team has done a lot. We pushed ourselves to be the best that we possibly could.
What is the best part about playing at the state tournament?
Pettrone: Just having the opportunity to be down there is unbelievable. When I went the first time, I really had to take in the big picture of, ‘Wow, I’m actually here right now.’ Just taking it all in and realizing everything it took to get there.
What’s your favorite memory from senior year?
Pettrone: It would have to be sectionals. Going as a team and knowing we had a good shot of going to state. Unfortunately, missing (state) by one stroke was a bummer, but it’s still a good memory I’ll take with me. Just being with the team.
What’s your favorite professional sports team?
Pettrone: Chicago Blackhawks. I grew up playing hockey and golf, and my family always threw on the Blackhawks, and we rooted them on. I’m very grateful to watch them win three Stanley Cups.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Pettrone: Great things take time.
If you had one last meal to eat, what would be included?
Pettrone: Steak and a sweet potato.
What would be your dream job?
Pettrone: A professional golfer on the PGA Tour. It’s been a dream of mine ever since I put a golf club in my hand and watched it on TV. I’m going to continue to ride that journey.
What type of music are you into?
Pettrone: I really like country music. Florida Georgia Line, Chris Stapleton and Luke Combs.
What scares you?
Pettrone: Tight spaces.
Who had the biggest impact on you as an athlete?
Pettrone: It has to be my parents (Chas and Melissa Pettrone). They’ve helped push me every step of the way.
Have you ever had a hole-in one?
Pettrone: I’ve had two. One was at Buffalo Grove and one at Oak Meadows. And guess what? They were both with the same club.
Which teammate inspires you the most?
Pettrone: I would have to give it to Tommy Trax. Whenever I didn’t have a good round or my best day, he’d always pick me up and tell me, ‘It’s OK.’ He just gives me a bunch of confidence and positivity for my next round.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want with you?
Pettrone: I would want a flag stick with the cup in it, Pro V1X (golf balls) and my hole-in-one 8-iron.
What’s something that most people wouldn’t know about you?
Pettrone: I’m a perfectionist. I’m very precise with my work. When I do something, I make sure that it’s 100% correct.
What was your favorite class in high school?
Pettrone: Dual credit speech. [In] the speeches, we talk about our things we enjoy and have interest in. I think it prepares me a lot for the future, too, just preparing myself with talking in front of a big group of people and making sure I’m comfortable and confident.
What are you looking forward to most at Bowling Green?
Pettrone: I’m extremely excited for Bowling Green. Again, very thankful for Coach (John) Powers for giving me the opportunity. I’m excited to join a new family. Hopefully can win a MAC (Mid-American Conference) championship.