Kurtis Grant coveted one particular item since he arrived on campus.
The West Virginia freshman golfer always wanted a gold headcover, which is given out to those on the team who shoot under par for a round. Grant came close on a number of occasions, whether it was a practice round or a qualifying round, but he could never quite reach the mark to get the gold headcover.
That all changed during his college debut during the Old Town Club Collegiate Invitation at Wake Forest from Sept. 24-25. He did not get just one, though.
He shot under par during all three rounds, which meant he got three gold headcovers at one tournament.
“I was right there, but just couldn’t quite get under par to get the headcover,” Grant said. “Shot 69 the first round, 69 the second round and then the third round I’m like, ‘Man, let’s go out there and get another headcover.’ I got all three, got all of them in one tournament.”
Those two days were monumental for the freshman golfer. Not only did he get the three headcovers that he cherished, but he also did something that has never been done before in program’s existence.
His four-under-par mark to finish the tournament tied him for 12th overall and also tied a program record. He had absolutely no idea that he was set to make history because his biggest focus was still on getting those gold headcovers.
“I had a putt on the last hole about 15 feet,” Grant said. “[Head] coach [Sean] Covich came down and he’s like, ‘What do you see in the putt?’ I go a little bit out. Play it out the right side of the hole and then just hit a good putt.’ He goes ‘OK.’ And then I stepped up, knocked it in and shot 68.’”
Grant was built for this moment.
In Covich’s eyes, he already had a year of college golf under his belt before, even though he was just a high schooler months ago and is now in his very first year as a student-athlete. He had already competed against college golfers last year, setting him up for a performance like he had during his first collegiate competition.
During his senior year of high school, Grant put Junior Golf in the rearview mirror. He played in nothing but Amateur events, facing those that were already playing at the NCAA level.
Those competitions put Grant on an early trajectory to make his mark at a rapid pace as soon as he went to WVU.
“So, when he teed up against Wake Forest and North Carolina and Virginia Tech and Notre Dame and all those guys at the Wake Forest event, he had already seen a lot of those guys during the summer and competed with them and beat them,” Covich said. “In some ways it’s not really a freshman experience because he was already used to that.”
Competing is what Grant loves. He loves to be right up there in tournaments and have a chance to make records and square off against some of the best in all of college golf. And, of course, he is always competing for those gold headcovers.
What separates him from many others is his endless positivity on the course. It’s easy to lose your mojo after one bad shot or one bad putt. Most golfers go through that.
Even if he might get frustrated after one shot, he understands where he is. He’s playing the game he loves.
“I’m always out there having fun, almost always have a smile on my face, joking around,” Grant said. “Golf’s a game. You got to have fun. Competing’s fun. You’ve just got to enjoy every minute of it because it’s better than being in a classroom writing in the notebook.”