Bishop’s Owen looks forward to challenges at Wake

Nov. 19, 2013 @ 09:02 PM

Tanner Owen thrives on being challenged. He wants to achieve his maximum potential, whether it be in school, on the golf course or otherwise. That is what drives him to be successful.

Owen, a senior at Bishop McGuinness, kept that at the forefront while looking at colleges. He found it in Wake Forest University, deciding to sign with the Demon Deacons to continue his golf career at the NCAA Division I level.

“I think Wake is one of those places where you can thrive athletically and academically,” said Owen, the son of Kevin and Vicki of High Point. “So, that’s what I’m most excited about, being able to work in both worlds. And I think Wake offers an environment to grow.”

Owen has been among the area’s top junior golfers for years. He first picked up a golf club when he was 2 years old, flipping over one of his dad’s clubs and whacking balls left-handed, and remained dedicated to improving through the years.

He’s always enjoyed the competition of golf, playing tournaments from an early age. Although he has played other sports (such as soccer, basketball and tennis), he’s most at home on the golf course, practicing or playing nearly every day in good weather and bad.

“I’d always done it. When I was 7 years old, I’d been at it for five years,” said Owen, who tied for High Point’s city championship, the Bud Kivett, in 2012. “I’d always done it, and it felt natural to me. It just felt like my environment — it just felt right. ...

“When you hit a shot that looks really, really good and feels really, really good, it keeps you coming back. You want to improve upon it and keep getting better. So, the motivation is always there.”

Owen jumped right into a strong lineup at Bishop as a freshman. Heading into his senior season, he’s help the Villains win three NCHSAA 1A state titles and has finished in the top-five individually three times – including winning as a junior.

“As long as I’ve been in junior golf and played golf, Tanner’s the most mature for his age that I’ve come across,” Bishop coach Pearse Mahon said. “He’s very even-keeled every time I watch him. He works hard at being prepared. So, the way he plays golf is not surprising.”

Before starting at Bishop, he began looking at schools, narrowing his top choices to smaller schools nearby. Wake Forest, led by head coach Jerry Haas, separated itself, and he decided to verbally commit during his sophomore year.

Playing alongside current sophomore Davis Womble, who is also from High Point, he joins a program with a rich tradition that has produced a number of household names like Webb Simpson, Lanny Wadkins, Curtis Strange and Arnold Palmer. 

“One of my dreams is to play PGA Tour golf, and they offer the kind of environment that breeds those kinds of athletes —  and I would love to be one of those,” said Owen, who wants to study physics. “So, it played a part. But it’s just unreal, it really is.

“It’s a thrill. I’m really excited and grateful for the opportunity. I can’t thank enough all my friends and family who’ve supported me along the way and my coaches, as well as the coaches at Wake for giving me a chance.”