High school golfers benefit from day with the pros

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) For someone as experienced as Rockford Christian senior Kody Page who has competed at state in both golf and track, you probably would think by now no butterflies would be found anywhere close to his stomach, but he still would not mind some advice on how to play it cool.

He definitely got some on Monday at the 43rd annual Rockford ProAm where he and three other high school golfers got to compete alongside pro Nick Hardy.

Page and the Illinois grad's team finished third at the Rockford Country Club.

The soon-to-be-senior returns to a loaded Royal Lions squad poised for a return to state and he says this experience should provide him with some knowledge he can find useful back in the Big Northern.

"[I learned] just how to deal with obviously the nerves and more going into college and what he did with that and just tour golf in general," Page said. "It's interesting. He'll probably give me some tips and some pointers, help me ease my nerves and hopefully that can help translate into this upcoming season. It's really nice to be here and it makes you feel like a part of a bigger community and that's humbling."

Belvidere North junior Bennett Baker was one of the Stateline's bright young golfers who competed as well.

The Blue Thunder golfer also got the opportunity to pick at the pro's brain and hopes his advice will help him when the state tournament rolls around in October.

"Hopefully I can be a good role model for them, push them to work harder, get their dreams and goals of playing professionally one day as well," said Hardy. "I think that's a lot of young players' goals and hopefully I get to help them a little bit in that."

"I'm looking to learn off the tee and my short game, just how to play in tournaments and gain confidence off the tee and just make sure how to not be nervous or how to handle being nervous in that type of situation," said Baker.

While they have tons of experience in their own right, Katelyn Sayyalinh and Natalie Hooper believe their time with Hardy will give them an advantage for when they get back on the green come August.

"It's going to give me a lot of insight on the game of golf and playing at the pro level and especially even college since he played in college," said Hooper. "Playing with someone who's so young it's going to be very easy to relate to them and get insight on what they have to say and their shots and stuff like that."

"It will help me know what I'm doing wrong and help me fix it later when I'm practicing and then it can help me improve my game and my score," said Sayyalinh.