ELKHART — Riley Keagle decided to trade his skates and hockey stick for spikes and golf clubs and it has paid off with a spot with a NCAA Division I golf program.
Keagle, a 2014 Elkhart Central High School graduate, signed Monday, June 9, to continue his academic and golf careers at Savannah (Ga.) State University.
A member of the Kalamazoo Wings travel squad before coming to high school, Keagle opted to give golf a try.
The only hard part was that Keagle is left-handed and most golf clubs are right-handed.
"My dad (Mike Keagle) tried to get me to play right-handed," said Keagle, who wound up getting many of his drivers and irons through the Internet. "It's not really a disadvantage to be left-handed, but it is hard to get lessons. It's just kind of backwards.
"It's a whole different game looking at our side of the ball."
That's why Keagle and friend Braden Sherwood, an Elkhart Memorial left-hander, have spent hours on the driving range hitting each other's club and trading tips.
Why Savannah State?
"Beautiful weather and year-around golf," said Keagle. "A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was put in front of me to play NCAA Division I sports, especially golf."
Savannah State is coached by Art Gelow. The Tigers belong to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Keagle was the Northern Indiana Conference champion as a junior in 2013 and was all-NIC as both a junior and senior for the Scott Sekal-coached Blue Blazers.
Last summer, Keagle aveaged 75.8 strokes per 18-hole round on the Indiana Junior Tour, where he placed eighth in the final standings. He won four times on the Elkhart County Junior Golf Tour.
Before reporting to SSU at the of the summer, Keagle plans to play in events around Elkhart, including the Greater Elkhart Men’s Golf Championship.