Richy Werenski from South Hadley, MA won the BMW CHARITY PRO-AM at Thornblade CC in Greenville, SC Sunday. It was his first win on the Web.Com Tour and was worth $121.500.
As a teaching professional ‘wonk’, I’m always interested in a young player’s background and what they have gone through to get to the top. Richy is one of those players who I feel is destine to have a great career on the PGA Tour. I’m reasonably certain the BMW is the first of many events whose trophies will carry the name Richard ‘Richy’ Werenski.
Richy was 5 years old when he was introduced to golf by his father Michael, a former PGA teaching professional. Richy’s mother, Susan, played college golf at Rollins. With a younger brother also in the golf industry, it’s not hard to figure out Richy’s direction in life was and is golf – competitive golf that is. To that end Richey’s parents supported his decision to attend the International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head, S.C where he could work on his swing and game year-round.
Richy played college golf at Georgia Tech where, during his junior year, his golf game tanked. An acknowledged perfectionist, Werenski was suspended from the team due to his anger issues. As a result he was ineligible to play in the ACC Championship. The public exposure of his ‘issues’ was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to Richy. He was forced to deal with his problem(s), meeting them head on.
“Coach (Bruce) Heppler, really helped me through that period of my life,” recalled Werenski. “I always had been very hard on myself, and this suspension turned my situation from a private matter into a public one. He made me realize that I not only let myself down, but also my teammates, my family and my school.
“They never gave up on me,” Werenski continued. “I still have to work hard every day to become a better person and player, but I am far from that person that I was two years ago. Golf is no longer a ‘life or death’ situation for me, and I don’t allow my play on the golf course to affect my life off of it.”
Richy got through his rough patch and re-dedicated himself in his senior year at GT. His passion for the game returned and in May 2014 Richy graduated, turned professional pocketing 3 victories and a second place finish in just his first five starts as a professional. Then came the call asking Richy to join the cast of an upcoming edition of the Big Break Palm Beaches on the Golf Channel. (I did a piece for New England Golf Monthly magazine on Richy’s Big Break victory.)
Winning the Big Break Palm Beaches in early 2015, Richy got an exemption into the Barbasol Championship field in July 2015. He made the cut and finished T-72nd. That same year he earned a spot on the Web.Com Tour via Q-School. Richy earned $62,086 in 2015 finishing the season 79th on the Web.Com money list.
So here we are not quite 2 years from Werenski’s turning professional and 2016 looks to be the year the South Hadley, Massachusetts native has been working toward. His BMW Charity Pro-Am victory has launched Richy into second position on the Web.Com’s money list with earnings of $258,958 through 9 events. His scoring average post BMW of 69.79 is better than his Team New England PGA Tour players at this writing. It’s a pretty safe bet we will see Richy on the PGA Tour in the 2016-’17 seson.
Congratulations Richy. Knowing a little about what you’ve gone through to ‘get here’, this is the easy part. Enjoy the walk.