Ashland, VA (March 25, 2017) – After working hard on his game since the age of four, Kirby Struhar realized his dream of playing collegiate golf three years ago. Growing up playing at the Golf Club at Lansdowne and competing for Park View High School, he always had his sights set on taking his career to the next level. That aspiration was realized in 2014 when he joined the squad at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va.
Now, in his junior season with the Yellow Jackets, Struhar has accomplished something even greater, his first collegiate win. He fired a two-over par 146 in the 36-hole Builders Invitational held at Long Bay Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on March 5 to lead the pack of 33 competitors. He opened the tournament with a 75 (+3) on the Pine Lakes course, followed by a clutch 71 (-1) on the Burning Ridge course. He found himself in a three-way tie for first place after the first round, but was able to knock four strokes off his score in the second round to prevail with the one-shot victory.
“It’s definitely nice to have something I’ve worked really hard for like this,” Struhar said, “not just through college, but dating back to middle school and high school, and in high school wanting so badly to play in college and that fortunately coming true, getting to be here at Randolph-Macon, now with me winning individually, that’s something that was a big goal of mine.”
Thanks to his outstanding individual effort, he also helped the Yellow Jackets finish second as a team out of six.
He believes the win was the result of the hard work he put in over the winter on his full swing and the work he put in on his short game and putting in the weeks leading up to the tournament. Down the stretch in the second round, it came down to the putter as he was able to convert on the greens.
“I knew putting was going to be something I needed to improve on going forward if I wanted to be competitive,” Struhar said. “The fact that I got to see a couple putts go in when it mattered, that’s a nice pay off of me working harder on putting.”
Having been a regular starter for the Yellow Jackets in each of his three years in school, Struhar has had to learn how to balance his time between his schoolwork and his golf game, which has been critical to his success.
“The biggest surprise about college golf would be how much I’ve learned, not just about the game, but what it takes to keep improving in the college environment,” he said. “How to practice and work to get better when you don’t have eight hours everyday all week long to dedicate to it, with classes and other responsibilities, just figuring out ways to improve with all of the other priorities.”
In terms of those other priorities, Struhar is a political science major already with extensive experience in the political realm. He spent the summer after his freshman year as an intern for Congressman Dave Brat of Virginia’s 7th congressional district in his district office. He then worked as an intern at Brat’s congressional office on Capitol Hill earlier this winter. He also had the opportunity last winter to go to New Hampshire, the site of the first presidential primary after the Iowa caucus, where he worked for and met several presidential candidates.
“Randolph-Macon has done a lot for me in having opportunities like that to grow and learn in areas outside of golf,” Struhar said.
On the golf course, Struhar feels he has developed as a player and is enjoying every minute of his time with Yellow Jackets, competing in the ODAC (Old Dominion Athletic Conference) in Division III.
“The fun that we get to have with the guys on our team, the enjoyment that comes with playing this game at the collegiate level has just been the greatest thing,” he said.
Although he has certainly improved during his tenure with Randolph-Macon, he wouldn’t be where he is today without his immense growth during his time with Park View. After not making it past districts his first three years, he qualified for states as a senior and was an all-region performer. He gives credit to his former coach, Larry Hinders, as a positive influence as he was rising through the scholastic ranks.
“I have very fond memories of high school golf playing at Park View, I’m still in touch with some of the kids I played with, in fact I called one of them after the win. It’s fun for me to get to look back at the journey,” Struhar said. “I grew so much in my four years as a high school golfer, and getting to realize the goal of playing in college, I am very much thankful for my time as a high school golfer in Loudoun County, and more specifically at Park View.”
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