University of Cincinnati golfer Michael Wolf and assistant coach Andrew Stephens head to the last green at the Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club at Dade City, Florida, Monday.

Confidence key for Cincinnati golfer Michael Wolf

Determined athlete integral part of Bearcats' roster

DADE CITY, FLMichael Wolf exudes confidence.

That’s why the University of Cincinnati golfer is a determined athlete and an integral part of the Bearcats’ roster.

“He’s a tremendous leader,” coach and ex-PGA tour player Doug Martin said of Wolf, “and he’s a great role model for only being a sophomore because his work ethic is so great.”

Wolf shot a team best 2-over par on Day 1 of the University of South Florida Invitational, and continued his hot start in Round 2, birdying two of the first four holes.

Although life seems good for the 20-year-old Cincinnati native, he does have one major issue that could stall his shot at earning a PGA Tour card.

“He’s got a long ways to get to that point because confidence is the one thing he struggles with, and as things start to unravel a little bit, he’s someone who has a tough time at this point overcoming that,” Martin said as his protégé was going through his routine on the putting green.

Wolf acknowledges his mental approach needs significant work.

“I need to work on my mental game the most,” the youngster added. “Sometimes I get scared over tee shots. Last season I had the yips with everything and I just couldn’t get anything off the tee, or make easy puts. Then I really worked hard on my mental game this winter and practise hard to get mentally stronger.”

Spectacular birdie

It’s moments like Wolf’s hole in one at the Cardinal Intercollegiate Tournament last fall, and his spectacular birdie on the 12th hole at Lake Jovita that make him believe he can be in the PGA one day despite his mental fragility.

Martin, who had an 11-year PGA Tour career, noted that Wolf’s drive and competitive spirit will be key in his attempt at turning pro.

“He has a tremendous desire to be a great player; he just needs some practice, some confidence and more competition experience. He’s an outstanding competitor.”

Part of his combative nature comes from his background in hockey; a sport he played competitively until four years ago.

“I wanted to play hockey growing up, but it’s really hard to go pro playing hockey and I wanted to pick a sport I could possibly go pro in,” Wolf said. “So I picked up golf from my dad and I just got better as I started playing and practicing more.

“I played hockey since I was three. I had to quit because my dad made me pick one sport in my sophomore year of high school after leading my league in scoring.”