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Ryan Courtney said the USA would pave his way to become a professional golfer. Photo: GORDON PREECE

Puriri golfer on fairway to America

A drive to become an engineer and professional golfer prompted Ryan Courtney to tee up his tertiary education in a place John Denver described as “almost heaven”.
The 18-year-old Puriri golfer told The Profile he received a scholarship for Wheeling University in West Virginia in the United States, and planned to travel there in late July, as it trundled a “really nice” course for both golf and engineering science.

“It looks like a really nice school, it’s also got some very nice climate in terms of studying,” he said.
“In terms of golf, the coach is very experienced and he’s bringing in a lot of freshmen in my year, so it looks like it’s going to be quite a young team that’s going to grow a lot over the years.
“I hope to get a degree in engineering science but also improve my golf in the hopes of turning pro in the States.”
Ryan said he would get into the swing of things at the Wheeling campus in August and planned to study and compete in golf for four years.
“I’ve always liked the sciences and I’ve always liked building and creating and designing, so that pretty much nails it together into engineering,” he said.
“[My parents and I] are also doing a trip before the actual school starts to have a look through the States.”
Ryan, who attended Hauraki Plains College followed by St Peter’s School in Cambridge for his final year in 2022, said he began competing in golf in 2019 when he followed in the footsteps of his father, Clark Courtney.
“Dad’s always been a golfer and he’s the main green keeper [at Paeroa Golf Course]. I stopped playing soccer so I needed to pick up a sport and gave golf a try, and pretty much fell in love with it,” he said.
Last year in the New Zealand Secondary School Championships, Ryan helped St Peter’s golf team place second, shooting one over par through two rounds. He also placed second in the junior Kaimai Classic held on April 20-21, shooting rounds of 72 to 69 to finish three under par and came second by a shot.
Ryan said he was also a club champion at Paeroa Golf Club.
A team of four Ambrose 18-hole golf tournament to chip in funds for Ryan will be held at Paeroa Golf Club on May 28, with a shotgun start at 10am.
“I’m very happy with everything that’s being planned for it, it looks like it’s going to be a really great day and a lot of money is going to be raised, and we’ve got some great sponsors,” he said.
“I’m hoping to raise between $10,000 and $15,000, that will cover the majority of the costs for the trip.
“We’re looking to get as many people out playing as possible and we’re trying to make the day as fun as possible for everybody.”