Danny Guise proudly wore a Wake Forest shirt and cap while playing Saturday in the Doral Publix Junior Golf Classic at Trump National Doral Golf Resort & Spa.
Guise, 17, already has signed with Wake Forest, a school steeped in golf history with graduates that include Arnold Palmer, Lanny Wadkins, Curtis Strange and Jay Haas.
Signing early, according to Guise, “took so much pressure off me.”
With the scholarship already tucked away, Guise no longer has to try to impress coaches.
“Even now, I see kids pressing to play well because they want to show college coaches watching them what they can do,” Guise said.
And Saturday there were plenty of college coaches to be seen around the Blue Monster trying to spot future talent for their schools.
At 5-11 and 143 pounds, Guise wants to take his game “to the next level” at Wake Forest. And, eventually, he wants to go beyond that.
His career preference: professional golfer. Obviously, that’s not the easiest field of work to get into, but Guise is determined.
Guise, who also plays basketball for Greenwich High in Connecticut, said matter-of-factly and without bragging, “I try to work my butt off in everything I do — golf, school, basketball. No matter what it is, I work hard at it.”
On Saturday, Guise put in some hard work on the golf course while competing in the 16-18 division. After shooting a spectacular 71 on Friday in winds that gusted up to 30 mph, he ran into some difficulties Saturday.
“I only hit one fairway, so it could have been a lot worse,” he said of the 74 that he shot on Doral’s Blue Monster.
His 1-over 145 total leaves him two strokes behind Germany’s Alexander Matlari, who posted rounds of 68 and 75.
Guise already has a plan for what courses he will take at Wake Forest.
“I will probably major in sociology, communications or health and science,” he said.
There’s a reason for those areas.
“Those fields might help keep me in the golf world, and I want to stay in the golf world,” he said.
His passion for playing golf is nearly unlimited.
“For me, it’s a privilege to be able to play golf,” he said. “Golf is addictive once you get on the course. I’ve always had a passion for it. Playing golf is my love.”
That love started when he was 6 or 7.
“I would hit plastic clubs in the backyard,” he said. “And then I played in my first tournament when I was 9.”
This is the third consecutive year Guise and his family have come to the Doral Publix tournament.
“I live in the North, so there are no tournaments up there this time of year,” he said.
Guise also likes the atmosphere that surrounds the Doral Publix, a tournament that includes grades as consideration for being entered.
“Academics is a huge factor getting into this tournament,” Guise said, “and that’s important. I love that aspect of the tournament. As much as I love golf, school comes before playing golf.
“This is a great tournament in every aspect. To play in it is a treat.”
• In the girls’ 16-18 division, American Lakareber Abe was part of a three-way tie for the lead with Sofia Goicoechea Ruiz of Argentina and Emily Pedersen of Denmark.
The final round of the tournament will be held Sunday, with admission free.