Senior Golfer Has Eyes on State Championship

Westside senior Grant Jabenis won the Papillion-La Vista Invite in 2019.

Photo courtesy Westside Boys Golf.

Westside senior Grant Jabenis won the Papillion-La Vista Invite in 2019.

Westside senior Grant Jabenis has been the top player for the Warrior boys golf team so far this season. Jabenis recently won his first tournament this year at the Papillion-La Vista Invite, and he said he expects this year to be brimming with success. Most golfers pick up the game from a very young age and are naturally gifted, but golf has not always been Jabenis’ sport of choice.

“I played baseball for six years. I had an injury, so I gave that up and took up golf. At first, I really played it pretty casually, but as I started to play more I started to really enjoy it,” said Jabenis.

It didn’t take long for Jabenis to realize he was special when it came to golf nor for him to fall for the game.

“Once I started to play in more tournaments, I started getting the hang of it. The more and more I practiced the better I got, and I fell in love with the game,” Jabenis said.

Jabenis plays golf more methodically than his competitors. He doesn’t feel the need to rip the ball off the tee, or heavily attack the pin. The senior has a different strategy in mind.

“I’ll take the smarter play and play to a number, and something I know I’m comfortable hitting into the green so I can control the spin, launch angle, and put it close so I can putt for birdie. I play very strategically and that helps me shoot as low as I know I can” said Jabenis.

Jabenis recently won the Papillion-La Vista Invite tournament, and for him, it was a long time coming.

“I’ve worked really hard over the last couple of years. I’ve been so close so many times in high school events. I’ve had some big second place finishes, so to finally get it done feels great,” Jabenis said.

After getting a win, Jabenis feels he has finally gotten over the hump and is ready to take over.

“I feel like I have what it takes now. I feel like I can win almost every tournament from here on out,” Jabenis said.

Jabenis’s coach Brett Froendt said at the beginning of the season that he also believes Jabenis has what it takes.

“Grant Jabenis is one of the best golfers in the state. We expect him to win tourneys and finish high at state,” Froendt said.

In his senior season, State is something that looms over Jabenis.

“It’s easily the biggest tournament of our season. Every little step we take is leading up towards that,” said Jabenis.

Jabenis also has a philosophy in mind that he looks to use during the state tournament.

“You can’t win the tournament on the first day, but you can lose it. I think that really hints towards a lot of guys who try to be too aggressive on the first day to try to get out ahead, so on day one I’m typically a little more conservative to try and get my self a good score towards the top and day two I’ll be more aggressive” said Jabenis.

While golf is ultimately a solo sport, rival Luke Kluver has a divison one commitment to Kansas for golf, and has been an underlying rival for Jabenis so far. He feels that he is the only thing between him and winning state for the warriors.

“There’s really only one player I have to beat,’ Jabenis said.

One of his biggest themes going into this year’s state tournament is that the match will be played on a course that Kluver is very familiar with.

“For state, we play on his home course. It’s a huge advantage. He gets to see the course every time he goes out and plays it,” Jabenis said.

While Jabenis is aware that Kluver has an immediate leg up, he isn’t going to let that affect him.

“I really don’t have any control over it. I can only control my game, and I think I can go out there and play well enough to beat him. It’s one of my goals for the year for sure,” Jabenis said.

Jabenis still has a long season ahead of him with many tournaments he expects to win, and potentially a state championship looming as he looks to round out his high school career with a win.