CHANNAHON – Although the storybook ending is missing, Jason Chobar’s prep golf career will go down as one of the greatest in Minooka – and Morris Daily Herald area – history.
This season, Chobar was the No. 1 golfer for a Minooka team that won the Southwest Prairie Conference championship. He advanced to the Class 3A Pekin Sectional individually, but fell short in his quest to advance to the state final tournament for a second consecutive year.
With an area-low average of 77 strokes per 18 holes, Chobar is the Morris Daily Herald Golfer of the Year for a third consecutive season.
On the course
Though Chobar’s average this season was a career low, the gap between him and his teammates was smaller than in some prior years. Four players on the team averaged 80 strokes or fewer per round.
Their collective efforts produced the first conference championship of Chobar’s career. He led them there by finishing with a team high in conference points.
“It ranks up there with all of the other seasons that I’ve had,” Chobar said. “The fact that I didn’t qualify for state is definitely disappointing, but winning our first conference championship in a while was great. Those things sort of balanced each other out.”
On Oct. 8, Chobar shot a 77 at the Normal West Regional, making him one of four individual sectional qualifiers from Minooka. The following week, he shot an 82 at the Pekin Sectional in his final round for the Indians.
“I knew at the start of the round that the cut would probably be right around 79, and it ended up being 79 exactly,” Chobar said. “I knew what I needed to do. I shot 78 last year at the same course. Right off the start, I wasn’t hitting that well. I did what I could to try and grind out some pars, but the big numbers caught up with me.
“It was definitely tough. I’d been with the team for four years, and that was the ending – me falling short.”
Off the course
Numbers and awards can, to an extent, tell the story of what Chobar did for the Minooka golf program during the past four years. His intangible contributions are more difficult to quantify.
“The young guys know how hard he has worked and see that he doesn’t cut corners,” Minooka coach Brian Petrovic said of Chobar. “I think they’ve also seen how motivated he is and that motivates them to be better. I also think they’ve seen him deal with adversity, and he has been the model for how you not only handle things head on with class and dignity, but also how to bounce back the very next day with a good round or a good event. He is the total package.
“He is such a great player, but what most people don’t understand is what a truly great person he is. ... He is truly one of those special kids. I feel so privileged to have been able to watch this kid grow and mature over the past four years.”
More than any outstanding round or any win, Chobar says his camaraderie with his teammates is what he will remember most from his time as an Indian.
“My best memories are of my time with the other guys, just telling stories together and hanging out,” Chobar said.
In the future
Chobar hopes to play college golf. Where he will do so has not yet been determined.
“I know he will play. Not only will he play, he will contribute to any team that he is on,” Petrovic said of Chobar. “The kid is a great player and I truly don’t think he’s even come close to his overall potential in golf.”
Getting used to reality that he will never play again for the Indians has been difficult for Chobar.
“We had our awards night the other night and that’s when it really hit me that it’s all over,” Chobar said, “I was thinking about all the guys and the times we had. A couple texted me that, ‘We’re gonna miss you. ...’ I’m proud of myself for being a role model for them, but I think that with the guys they still have here, they’re gonna be great without me.”