After a successful season that ended with a trip to state, where he placed 17th, Prairie Ridge’s Charlie Pettrone already is looking toward a special 2023.
“I’ve put in a lot of work since the end of the high school season, and I’m feeling very good and very confident about my game,” said Pettrone, a junior. “I would love to get my team to sectionals again and hopefully bring them to state [next year].
“Individually, I’d love to win state. It’s the biggest thing on my list and the biggest thing I’m working for.”
Pettrone’s breakthrough campaign included winning the Fox Valley Conference Tournament individual championship with a 74, two shots better than Crystal Lake South’s Nate Stewart. Pettrone also was the conference’s end-of-season points champion, which combines duals and FVC Tournament finishes.
He tied for second at regionals with a 73 and was the top individual golfer not on an advancing team to qualify for state from the Class 2A Sterling Sectional, placing third with a 74.
At the end-of-season tournament at Weibring Golf Club in Normal, Pettrone was in the mix for a state title after a great first round. He finished tied for 17th with a 75-78-153.
Congrats to PR’s Charlie Pettrone on an amazing junior season! Future is bright!🐺⛳️😎 @pr_boysgolf pic.twitter.com/xM4b7NAf85— PRHS Athletic Booster Club (@PrhsBoosters) October 9, 2022
For his accomplishments, Pettrone was voted the 2022 Northwest Herald Boys Golfer of the Year by the sports staff with input from area coaches. He’s the first golfer from Prairie Ridge to win the award since Cameron Karney in 2017.
Pettrone spoke with sports writer Alex Kantecki about getting his start in golf, a memorable hole-in-one, Kobe Bryant and more.
What was the best part of the state golf experience?
Pettrone: Just being down there was great, but the biggest thing for me was the first tee. I will always remember that.
How did you get your start in golf?
Pettrone: My start in golf was because of my dad. He bought me a set of plastic clubs. After those, my grandpa cut down one of his old 3 woods to be like a foot long. I’ve have that club ever since.
Have you ever made a hole-in-one?
Pettrone: Yes, it was at a summer tournament at Buffalo Grove Country Club. I was 150 yards away. I hit an 8-iron with the wind straight in my face. It took one hop and just dribbled right to the hole. I dropped my club full of excitement. My uncle got it on video, but it’s pretty pixilated.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
Pettrone: I have to go with mashed potatoes and gravy.
Who is your favorite professional golfer?
Pettrone: Justin Thomas because of his attitude and overall demeanor for golf.
What is the top golf course on your bucket list?
Pettrone: Pebble Beach. It always has been and always will be until I play it.
If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would they be?
Pettrone: Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
Which teammate makes you laugh the most?
Pettrone: Tommy Trax because he’s just a goofball and brings a lot of excitement to the team. Whenever I see him, I always laugh.
What’s the hardest part about golf?
Pettrone: Keeping your mental composure throughout the round. Staying strong and finishing strong is the mentality you need to have.
What are three movies you can watch over and over again?
Pettrone: “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Black Panther” and “Caddyshack.”
Where would you most like to go on vacation?
Pettrone: I would love to go to California because I just want to play Pebble Beach, so I would make a trip out of that.
Who has had the biggest impact on you as an athlete?
Pettrone: I have been reading a lot of books about Kobe Bryant, the mental game and the strategies he used. I love his overall thought process, and I think he definitely affects me with the mental skills I use in golf.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Pettrone: Chewing on nails. Can’t do it.
What sport that you don’t play would you be good at?
Pettrone: A lot of my friends tell me lacrosse.
Do you have any rituals or superstitions before you play?
Pettrone: I don’t have any superstitions, but I always like to make sure I’m prepared. Making sure I look over the course, making sure my clubs are clean, making sure I mark my balls, making sure I know the pin positions.
What superhero power would you like to have?
Pettrone: I’d like to be the Hulk so I can hit the ball a little farther than I hit it now.
What will you remember most about this season?
Pettrone: Making it to sectionals as a team and having my team and family supporting me through state was unbelievable. I’ll never forget that.