As a kid, Anthony Sebastianelli always preferred other sports to golf.
Now, the Abington Heights’ graduate is preparing to play at the Division I level for Central Connecticut State University.
The future Blue Devil was sold on the program after taking an official visit and plans on majoring in finance.
“I met the team, they’re all really cool guys, and I liked the coach’s style of teaching,” Sebastianelli said. “He drove home the point that school comes first, then golf. He also said the team is like a family, and that’s how my high school team was. I had a blast in high school and hope to do the same in college.”
The South Abington Twp. resident was about 12 years old when he started getting serious about the sport.
“My parents always tried to get me interested earlier,” he said, “but I was always playing football, baseball, basketball, or hockey, and only played golf about once a year.”
It was one of his friends, Erik Meyer, from backyard football that sparked Sebastianelli’s love of golf.
“We were on the bus one day, he knew I was a member of Glen Oak County Club, and said ‘we should go play golf,’” Sebastianelli said. “I told him I really wasn’t that good, but he said ‘we’ll just go and hit some balls.’ He introduced me to some kids, Jamie Egan and Eric Montella, among others, and I developed a friendship with them.”
Sebastianelli’s best memories from his high school career include winning the Irving Jackman Memorial Tournament in August, finishing in third place at states in October, and advancing, as a team, to states in coach Mike Williams’ last year.
Williams knew Sebastianelli was a great talent from the start, but was impressed with the development of his mental toughness.
“He was a solid player all four years,” Williams said, “but you could see him mature in the way that he approached the game as an upperclassman. He’s unflappable and has a short memory, which is great thing in golf.”
According to Sebastianelli, it was a grind to earn a college scholarship.
“It took countless hours on the range hitting balls,” he said. “When you’re pounding balls for hours, your hands get ripped apart.”
He credits his swing coach, Scotty McAlarney, for improving his driving accuracy.
“I changed swings, when I was younger, my swing was kind of erratic and I was never able to put the ball in the fairway,” Sebastianelli said. “He shortened my swing, made it a little more compact and helped me be able to work the ball both ways.”
While Williams rates Sebastianelli as a “very good” ball striker, he feels his mindset on the course separates him from the pack.
“There are a lot of kids that can play,” Williams said, “but he believes it. He’s a really positive kid and I think his confidence is his greatest asset.”
While he knows there will be an increase in competition in college, Sebastianelli welcomes the challenge.
“I’m excited to compete with people that are a lot better than me,” he said. “I love playing against better players because you learn that way and it gives me more drive to practice.”