KINGSVILLE — Sebastian Read has been a jack of all trades during his high school career at Santa Gertrudis Academy.
Read is a straight-A student, a member of the National Honor Society, an Eagle Scout and fortunately for the Lions, he’s pretty good at playing golf.
“My parents have always encouraged me to work and practice as hard as I can, so over the years I’ve learned to push myself,” Read said. “I feel at home on the golf course, and at the practice range.”
In addition to his high school golf career, Read also plays in the Junior PGA and on the the Legends Junior Tour.
Read has compiled 11 top 10 finishes during the South Texas Junior PGA season and finished 21st out of 300 golfers on the STPGA Fall Series points list.
He recently signed a letter of intent to play golf at Southwestern College in Kansas and is determined to help the Lions have a strong finish to this season when they tee off at the UIL Class 3A state golf tournament May 9-10 at Jimmy Clay Golf Course in Austin.
Read will be joined by teammates Esai Salinas, Reuben Garcia, Willis Tinsley and Joshua Cavazos, who are the first golfers from Santa Gertrudis Academy to qualify for the state tournament.
“It means a lot to me and I’m glad that I get to do it here in Kingsville,” Read said. “I hope that I can do well for my teammates. It’s been a dream of my team and I, especially since our freshman year.”
Read began playing golf when he was 4 and like most athletes, the path to success hasn’t always been easy.
Read’s father was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer and it hit the senior golfer hard.
The most difficult part for Read was watching his father battle through surgery and not getting to see him play at the Region IV-3A tournament.
“I want to play good for my dad because he supports me a lot,” Read said. “I know it hurt him and it was stressful for him not being able to watch me play, but he was still sending me swing videos to try and help me three to four times a week. I still think about him out here and I want to play well for him. He deserves to see me play with all of the time and effort he’s put in to help me to get to where I am now.”
Read said his success on the course starts with his father and grandfather, but also credited his swing coach Brent Blackburn, who has helped him develop his new swing this season.
Blackburn, who is the head pro at the Corpus Christi Country Club, has coached Read for a little more than a year.
“His dad came to me wanting to rework his swing and we talked through it,” Blackburn said. “I told him there were going to be bumps and bruises at first and as I got to know Sebastian, I found out he’s an Eagle Scout, a straight-A student and a hard worker. I knew there was not going to be an issue. He has come out the other side and the results have been spot on.
“He has a good heart and when you put kindness, being a good person and hard work together, you can really do some great things.”
Read has shown he’s adjusted to his new mechanics by compiling six first-place finishes this season in the Lions’ run to the state tournament.
Read has scored under par three times with his lowest score being a 68, which he carded twice.
“I was in a slump last year and this year I’ve tried really hard to get out of it,” Read said. “I knew I had the chance to shoot in the 60s and 70s and make it to state. I come out and practice for four to five hours, six days a week. I knew if I kept doing that, I could show my potential to everyone.”
Even through all of his success on the course, Read credits his teammates for the Lions securing a spot in the state tournament this season.
Read said when he struggled on the course, his teammates were there to carry the load.
“I really didn’t play good golf again until regionals,” Read said. “It was our team pulling together that got us to regionals. And this season, we’ve pulled together to take it to the highest level.”
Read’s goal after high school is to compete beyond the college level and play golf for a living. When his competitive career comes to a close, he plans to have a career in golf by instructing, coaching or something on the business side of the industry.
But for now, his main focus is to bring home a state championship for Santa Gertrudis Academy.
Read hopes he can replicate his score (69) from the first round of the regional tournament or better when he tees off at state.
“I’m going to have to keep my head up with temperatures in the 100s when I tee off,” said Read, who placed fourth at regionals. “I tee off at 1 p.m. so I will be playing right in the heat. I have to keep a good mindset with all of the good competition out there.
“We have to go out there and have fun with it. We still have to do our best, but not stress too much about it. We are proud to represent Santa Gertrudis Academy as the first golf team in school history to advance to state.”
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Rey Castillo is a sports reporter for the Caller-Times and a graduate of Texas A&M-Kingsville. He may be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @reycastillo361