Trojan golfer talks life, music at UALR
UALR Men’s golf player Alfred Kerstis’ performances have placed him in the top 10 in the Sun Belt Conference. In 2012, he was named the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year after ranking seventh with a 72.88 scoring average. Kerstis’ accomplishment did not stop there. He received 2013 Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference honors after ranking the sixth in the conference with a 73.54 average. Kerstis started off as a soccer and floor hockey player as a child, but after injuries while playing soccer, he decided to pursue golf. “Golf kind of started when I was in fourth or fifth grade, there were good group of friends out in the golf course and I started taking interest in it,” said Kerstis, a junior majoring in Finance.
Kerstis said even though he is very proud of the Freshman of the Year award, he still strives to be better. “I’m trying to finish first in the Sun Belt Conference,” said Kerstis. He also spoke highly of his teammates and of his coach Jake Harrington. “I believe we have a great chance coming to regionals, even nationals this year with the players we have,” said Kerstis. He (coach Harrington) does a very good job with preparing us for tournaments, how to think and play on the course. He knows what it takes to win the tournament.
As a Gothenburg, Sweden native, Kerstis said he likes the climate in Arkansas better, because he can play golf year-round here. In Sweden, he said, he cannot play during winter since their winter is too cold to be out on a golf course. He also appreciates the student athlete program in the United States that allows him to play golf and go to college. “Here I am in America, given an opportunity to succeed and I’ll do everything in my power to make the school proud, to make my family proud, for my team and last, it will be for me,” Kerstis said sharing his outlook on life.
If there is a chance to play professionally, Kerstis will try to do so. He is a fan of Swedish professional golfer, Henrik Stenson who recently won the FedEx cup.
Playing team golf is different from playing a sport such as basketball, where success is decided by how well teammates work together. There is constant competition among golf players, even on their own teams as they try to make it into limited available spots. Kerstis said UALR golfers play for five spots each conference. “That’s kind of my problem with golf. In golf, we only compare our scores to each other, which will make us competitive against each other. It is something we have to learn to handle, because you still want to be supportive with each other, which right now we are, I feel like. We’re at the good state where we can compete at a high level,” Kerstis said.
Being student athletes keeps Kerstis and his teammates busy. They practice six to seven days a week, have three additional workouts per week, and have school and homework on top of that. When there is a free time, Kerstis likes listening to music and singing in the car when no one is around.
Pronouncing Kerstis’ name in Swedish is not an easy task. He said the “K” sound is more of a “Sh” sound.
The men’s golf team will play in the Wolfpack Intercollegiate in N.C. on Oct 7-8.