Pekin senior golfer Jack Halstead is off to a good start this season, coupling with teammate Mason Ghidina as the Dragons’ top scorers.  Halstead medaled in Pekin’s opening match with a 74 in a triangular at Lick Creek. He has medaled in all of the team’s invitationals so far.

His latest achievement came last weekend when he finished fourth in the prestigious two-day Craig Dixon Invitational at Mattoon with a one-over par 145, leading Pekin to a third-place finish in the 38-team tournament behind golf powerhouses Edwardsville and Normal U-High.

As a junior, Halstead earned a trip to the Class 3A state finals, finishing 105th.

Journal Star reporter Dave Reynolds asked Halstead five questions:

1 What improvements have you made in your game this season? 

"My putting. I feel I have worked hard at it, and it's been paying off. I have been averaging just under 30 putts a round."

2 Coach Brett McGinnis says you're able to quickly shrug off a bad shot and move on. Has this always been the case for you? Is this a key to your success? 

"Yes, this has been a quality I am proud to have. It doesn't mean I won't get upset after I hit a bad shot. But once I get to the ball, I put the past behind it and forget about it. It is a key for when I play well, especially during 18-hole matches when I play the front nine bad. Many times I can gain some ground back on the back nine." 

3 What would make for a satisfying finish to your high school golf career? 

"Top 10 at state is a big goal for me this year. Obviously, I would like to see myself winning. But a reasonable goal is top 10, which I know I am capable of. I also set a goal at the beginning of the season to medal in all the invites. So far I'm on pace to achieve that goal with the Dragon Classic left."

4 Many people play golf for relaxation. Do you find the game relaxing or is it more stressful? What other interests do you have off the course?

"At many times it is stressful because I'm keeping score in the back of my head and I'm always trying to go lower. But at the end of the day it relaxes me because I forget about what's going on outside of golf. Outside of golf, I enjoy hanging out with my friends whether it's playing pickup basketball or sometimes video games. But there isn't much time I'm not golfing." 

5 Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

"Most likely not in Illinois. I have a brother in Boston and a sister in Colorado. It would be cool to go experience other places. I enjoy either place when I get to visit. Hopefully I find a career that I enjoy, maybe along the lines of business."