Some golfers go their entire lives and never record a hole-in-one. And yet, that feat is becoming old hat for Marquette’s Jack Cronin.
At the ripe old age of 15, Cronin recently scored his third ace.
Cronin, of Chesterfield, carded a 74 [2-over par] while recording a hole-in-one on No. 3 with his 6-iron in the recent Junior Amateur Championship at the Jefferson City Country Club.
When he was 11, he scored his first ace at his home course of Persimmon Woods. Then, at 13, he scored a hole-in-one during the final PGA Junior League match at Whitmoor Country Club. His most recent came on a 184-yard hole.
“I was deciding between my 5- and 6-iron based on my range finder reading, but I had wind behind me, so I picked the 6,” Cronin said. “My 8-iron is actually my favorite club, but I needed to use my 6 because of the yardage.”
He thought the swing was good but he couldn’t follow the flight of the ball because of the sun. It was only when he made his way toward the green that he found out, from other players who saw it happen.
“My first reaction was happiness,” Cronin said. “My mom, grandpa Jere Callisto and my sister, Catherine, were watching me play.”
Cronin was playing with Drew Higgins, of Jefferson City, and Grant Beichley, who is from Kansas. Higgins is a member of the Jefferson City Country Club.
Overall, it was a good tournament for Cronin. He finished tied for fifth in the 14-15 age group with a 153.
“I am not surprised about Jack’s ace,” said Marquette coach Eric Schweain. “He is a talented young man with a tremendous work ethic. This was not his first hole-in-one, and it will not be his last. He is working himself into a great golfer.”
Since school ended, Cronin has been playing in a handful of tournaments. Earlier this summer, he finished second in the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association Junior Championship, coming in behind Chaminade’s Curt Hastie.
“I struggled in those rounds hitting my irons straight, but my putting saved my score in [that] tournament,” Cronin said. “I played my best round earlier this summer in the PGA Junior Championship at the Quarry [at Crystal Springs], where I placed fifth overall. I also played in the AJGA qualifier at the [Missouri] Bluffs, which is one of my favorite courses.”
Before the summer ends, Cronin said, he intends to play in the Gateway PGA end-of-the-year tournament at Winghaven, as well as one final AJGA Junior All-Star qualifier.
Along with swing coach Helen Kurtin from the Quarry, Cronin credited Schweain with helping him succeed.
“Coach Schweain is the man. He is an amazing coach for high school golf,” Cronin said. “He tells me jokes on the course to keep me from being too serious, and everyone likes him.”
Cronin’s freshman season at Marquette was solid. He recorded a second-place finish in the Bantle Memorial at Missouri Bluffs in his first high school tournament with an impressive 72.
“I started strong [my freshman year] and finished worse than I would have liked,” Cronin said. In the Class 4 state tournament at Silo Ridge Golf and Country Club in Bolivar, his first state high school tournament, Cronin finished 59th with a 186.
“I was frustrated with my performance at state,” Cronin said. “It was good yardage for me, but I wasn’t striking the ball well and it was very windy during the tournament. I struggled on the same par-5 both days, which was frustrating.”
For the coming season, the young golfer has a few clear objectives in mind.
“Some of my goals for my sophomore year are to begin strong again and continue to improve during the season,” Cronin said. “I would like to come in top 20 at state, and I hope my team is able to make it to state this year. We have some really good incoming freshmen this year and great returning players, too.”
Schweain believes Cronin will play a big role for the Mustangs next season.
“I believe in leadership. Great teams are not about the coaches – they are about leaders that are willing to pull the others along with them,” Schweain said. “I believe Jack will fill that role as a sophomore, like so many great golfers from Marquette High School before him. He will be a tremendous team leader.”