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Quallich goes from plastic clubs to playing varsity as a freshman

Freshman+Michael+Quallich+has+had+a+strong+season+for+the+Baldwin+High+School+golf+team.
Zach Wiatrowski
Freshman Michael Quallich has had a strong season for the Baldwin High School golf team.

Freshman Michael Quallich got his start with golf by playing with plastic clubs at age 2. His growth since then has seen him reach WPIAL championships and some premier national competitions.

Those plastic clubs were a gift, and he quickly fell in love with the sport. By age 6, he was playing with real clubs.  

At just 9 years old, he competed in the Drive, Chip and Putt competition at Augusta National golf course in Georgia, one of the most prestigious in the world. WTAE-TV featured him as its athlete of the week, and NBC featured Michael’s swing on its Twitter account, even comparing it to professional golfer John Daly’s swing.  

“I was smaller than all the other kids at the first Drive, Chip and Putt,” Quallich said.

In October of last year, at the PGA Junior Championship, Quallich golfed even, making it through the first cut. 

More recently, he took part in this year’s Drive Chip and Putt qualifying event in Philadelphia. While he did not qualify to move on to Augusta this year, he did place fourth out of 12 participants in his age range. 

Quallich also has had a great year for the Baldwin golf team. He made it to the final round of the WPIAL Championship and placed sixth.

He described his play at the WPIAL Championship as “straightforward, all-around good golf.”

That sixth-place finish qualified him for states, which are being held today and Tuesday.

“It’s a great accomplishment but work still needs to be done,” Quallich said of making it to states.

Putting and chipping are the strengths of his game, he said. He also said that it’s important to be able to come back after a bad shot and to control how far he hits the ball depending on the club.  

In terms of continuing challenges, Quallich cited his mental game, while noting that “it has gotten a lot better.”

As for professional golf role models, Quallich looks to the past, citing legendary golfer Lee Trevino, who was a dominant force in the late ’60s and throughout the ’70s. While Trevino does not golf competitively anymore, Quallich still tries to emulate him. 

“He talks a lot on the golf course and is an all-around chill guy – but focused when needs to,” Quallich said.

After achieving so much on his own as a youth player, Quallich enjoys being a member of the  Highlander golf team.

“They enjoy the sport a lot, which makes it more fun,” he said of his teammates. “It has been a great experience not only to play with a team but to experience it with friends.” 

His skill has not gone unnoticed by his teammates. 

“He’s a prodigy,” senior Adam Ledbetter said.

Junior Zachary Auel agreed.

“He is a young kid with a lot of potential and is really dedicated to the game. What makes him stand out as a player is how much he cares about his team and how consistent he is on the course,” Auel said. 

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About the Contributors
Zach Wiatrowski
Zach Wiatrowski, Staff Writer
Junior Zach Wiatrowski is a first-year Staff Writer. He can be found at PPG Paints Arena at a Penguins game, watching Sidney Crosby do his thing 
Dom Brown
Dom Brown, Multimedia Editor
Multimedia Editor Dom Brown is a junior and a first-year member of the Purbalite. He can be found playing sports, hanging out with friends, and watching Netflix.
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  • K

    KathyOct 16, 2023 at 10:11 pm

    An amazing humble young man.

    Reply