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Brennan’s drive has him on course

Michael Brennan produced impressive results on the golf course throughout the month of June.—Photo Courtesy/Virginia State Golf Association
For a young golfer who's been honing his craft for years, June was quite a month.

Lifelong Leesburg resident Michael Brennan, a rising sophomore at Tuscarora High School, toted his big bag of golf clubs from course to course throughout June. Running through a tough gauntlet, Brennan's name is now a bit better known in the golf world.

On June 5 in Rockville, Md., Brennan was the youngest golfer in the nation to compete in a U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier. He turned in rounds of 77 and 75 to place ahead of 10 more experienced players.

On June 23 in Harrisonburg, Brennan won four head-to-head matches to capture the 27th VSGA Junior Match Play Championship. In the decisive round, he edged out friend and fellow Loudouner Andrew Jacobs with a front-nine 33 and a bogey-free back half, claiming the first matchplay title of his young career.

In his second of those four matches, while up two shots on the par-3 16th hole, Brennan experienced a do-or-die moment that encapsulates why he plays golf.

"I hit the tee ball onto the green, but it kicked hard right, so I didn't have much green to work with," Brennan said. "I chipped to about 20 feet and knocked it in to save par. That kept me two up with two holes to go."

On June 28 at Creighton Farms, Brennan earned stroke-play qualifying medalist honors at the 104th VSGA Amateur Championship. Despite being the youngest golfer in the field, Brennan shot rounds of 70 and 68 - including spectacular hole-out shots from 91 and 121 yards away.

"Those shots, I'll never forget," Brennan said. "They really helped."

All these rounds of ultra-competitive golf are preparatory for, Brennan hopes, bigger things to come.

"I definitely want to play college golf and hopefully professional golf beyond that," he said.

Life on course

In the Brennan family archive, photos showing a 2-year-old Michael getting his first taste of golf are on display. By the time he was 6, influenced by golf-loving parents Shannon and Michael, he was a fully fledged golfer.

He played the gamut of youth sports, like baseball and soccer, and he played for Tuscarora's freshman basketball team last winter. But golf has long been the game that grabs him.

Brennan swings hard, clubbing the ball an average of 280 yards off the tee.

"It seems like the harder I swing, the straighter the ball goes," he said. "I know that sounds crazy. But with my driver, I don't hold back anything. I just let it go."

Brennan is a golf technocrat, studying the game's finer points and emulating particular aspects of the pros. He admires the bunker game of Luke Donald and the precision putting of Jordan Spieth.

He's adept at chipping and putting, employing the "finesse wedge" technique to scramble and save errant shots.

"It's about using the bounce of the club," Brennan explained. "You don't have to be as accurate. You can hit it heavy, but you get a lot more spin, so you can be more aggressive."

What aspects of his golf game still requires improvement? Brennan admits he's not very good at accepting his own mistakes in this unforgiving sport.

"I still need to work on getting frustrated with myself because I know I can do better," he said. "There are always more opportunities to come."

Michael Brennan

-Sport: Golf

-School: Tuscarora

-Class: Rising sophomore

-Champion: VSGA Junior Match Play

-At states: 5th in Group 5A

-Home course: River Creek

-Average drive: 280 yards

-Other sport: Basketball

-Aspirations: College & professional golf


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