November 24, 2014

Elyria
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Midview grad decides against pro golf career

Jay Overy still has the drive if not the dream.

Overy

But the Ashland University senior golfer and Midview High School graduate is OK with that, content with his recent decision to not pursue a career as a pro golfer when his college days are through.

“I was a little bummed for a couple of weeks,” Overy said, “but I moved on.”

Overy had been giving serious consideration to turning pro, but after sitting down with his family and weighing his options, he decided it really wasn’t a possibility for him.

“With the finances, you need a lot of help to do that,” he said of turning pro, estimating that it would take $20,000 just to start out. “If you turn pro, you pretty much have to play golf all the time. You can’t really have a job.”

There is one other little concern, of course.

“You really have to be so unbelievably good,” he said. “I decided to just hopefully end on a high note.”

That process began Monday when the lefty was named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s golfer of the year, and Overy hopes it will end with an appearance at the NCAA Division II national championships at The Cardinal Club located just outside Louisville, Ky.

He’s never made it to nationals, though he’s had some close calls, including missing qualifying by just two shots as a sophomore. He and his Eagles teammates take their first steps in this year’s postseason when they begin play Monday in the Midwest/South Central Regional at Jefferson City Country Club in Jefferson City, Mo. The top five teams and the top two individuals not on a qualifying team advance to nationals in each regional.

Overy doesn’t see any reason he shouldn’t be in that group.

“I really feel I worked hard over the winter on my swing,” he said. “I feel it’s the best I’ve ever had it.”

Considering he’s been golfing since the age of 2 or 3 — his dad, Jay Overy Sr., used to bring him along on trips to the driving range — that’s saying something.

Still, Overy played more baseball than golf as a kid. Eventually, though he was a first-team All-Lorain County baseball player for the Middies, he gravitated to golf.

“I didn’t get serious about golf until middle school,” Overy said. “But I became a real good golfer. … After senior year of high school I knew it was time to concentrate on golf.”

Overy’s had another senior season to remember, as evidenced by the league honor he received Monday. In addition to his GLIAC-leading 72.50 scoring average, he’s had five top-five finishes and his first win as a collegiate golfer.

That came in the fall at the Northwood University Invitational in Midland, Mich., when he opened with a 3-under 69 and followed with a 72 for a two-stroke win.

And a huge feeling of relief.

“That was one of the things my senior year I was really pressing about — getting a victory,” said Overy, who lost a tournament in a sudden-death playoff as a junior. “I’d been in the top five around 10 times or more. I’d been close. It was nice to get that victory.”

Overy rates accuracy and grinding as the best parts of his game.

“I’ve always been good at keeping the ball in the fairway,” he said. “And just being able to make a lot of pars and maybe a few birdies. I’m good at minimizing those mistakes. I think that comes from the mental attitude.”

The mental side can be both a plus and a negative, of course. While Overy owes a lot of his success to his ability to stay focused and not let a bad hole derail his round, he also wishes at times he didn’t think quite so much.

“It’s not that hard for me to get to 1 or 2 under par,” he said. “It’s very difficult to get to 4 or 5 under though.”

That, in the final analysis, may be why he’s not regretting his decision to give up those dreams of being the next Phil Mickelson … or Bubba Watson.

Besides, that doesn’t mean he’ll quit the game when his college days are over. Far from it. He still plans to play in big-time tournaments like the Ohio Amateur, though he is also looking forward to turning golf into more of a hobby than a job.

That’s also why he plans to use his marketing degree in a field other than golf. He wants golf to be something he can enjoy after working all day.

Which will be his new reality soon enough.

“I feel like just yesterday I was playing high school golf,” Overy said. “I feel like I just got to college. It’s amazing to think I’m going to have to start working in a month or so.”

Contact Kevin Aprile at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.