Stephens Urges Girls To Get Into Golf
By DIANE TURNER-HURNS
Journal & Topics Reporter
Rosemont native Brad Stephens has added several golf trophies to his collection over the past few years, but says while the game is resurging, many college golf scholarships for young women remain vacant.
“It’s a shame. No matter how young they are, girls should begin playing golf,” Stephens told the Journal & Topics last week after competing in the Illinois Open Golf Championship with 257 other contenders. Stephens is the son of Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens and Carrie Stephens. “They should get out there with their dad and golf, like I did. Golf may seem boring at first, but once you get out there and see results you can quickly become hooked.”
Stephens set scoring records in high school at East Leyden before playing around the country with the DePaul University team. He was awarded a full scholarship to play golf at DePaul for his final two years. The Chicago school is part of the Big East Conference.
Since Stephens graduated and began working full-time, he has competed in two amateur golf tournaments including the Illinois Open.
“At DePaul we played all over the country, in D.C., Florida, California,” Stephens said. “It was a great opportunity and I did OK. Having the scholarship helped.
“But today I am seeing a lot of golf scholarships for females go vacant. It’s a great opportunity for girls,” Stephens said.
Stephens earned four athletic letters in golf and two in baseball at East Leyden before heading off to DePaul.
“I remember calling my dad to tell him I won the West Suburban Athletic Conference title when I was a high school sophomore and his response was ‘get out’”, Stephens said. “He was very proud. He finally believed me when he picked me up and I had the trophy in my hand. That was the first time I had broken 80.”
At the Illinois Open in St. Charles, Stephens qualified to compete in the tourney, but missed the final cut shooting 76 in the first and second rounds.
Stephens started playing golf when he was 10, mainly in tournaments with his father. In high school he started on the junior varsity team as a freshman and moved up to varsity as a sophomore.
“My teams in high school and college were OK, a lot of great competition,” Stephens said. “Then in 2013 after I graduated from college, I began playing local amateur competition.”
In addition to his school golf coaches, he has taken lessons from pros.
“I really learned to focus,” Stephens said. One way he does that is by wearing headphones and listening to music while practicing before competition play. He is also using the same clubs he has had since high school.
Today, Stephens works full-time as general manager of MB Financial Park in Rosemont after earning his degree in communications from DePaul where he also earned Big East academic honors.
As for playing golf, he expects to play more for fun when he has time.
“I think the sport of golf is doing well. More younger people, those around 10, are starting to get into golf,” Stephens said. “I’ve seen that a lot lately and I hope it keeps up. Golf is fun and offers many opportunities. But to be good, you really have to practice a lot.”