Kucera has success on Junior PGA tour

Brandon Streich
Sports Writer
(Left) Posing with his State Championship trophy are Nolan Kucera and his caddy, Grandpa Brian Mathiowetz. Nolan said, "It was fun with my Grandpa Brian as my caddy. We are a good team." (Right) This is Nolan's dad Brent Kucera's favorite photo from the State Championship -- Nolan watching play on the Lafayette Golf Club course, with his caddy, Grandpa Brian, looking on.

Sleepy Eye’s Nolan Kucera came away with first place in the Minnesota Junior PGA State Championship, for boys age seven to nine, played in Minnetonka at the Lafayette Golf Club. Nolan is the son of Brent and Rachel Kucera of Sleepy Eye.

The Junior PGA State Championship was not Nolan’s first win of the year. The youngster has also taken first place in other tournaments on the Junior PGA tour — in Oakdale, Marshall, Paynesville, Rochester, and Sleepy Eye. Nolan also took second place in a tournament in New Ulm earlier this year.

Nolan took first place in six of seven tournaments he participated in throughout the summer of 2020. In previous years, Nolan has taken second place in Oakdale and first place in Paynesville in 2019, as well as a second place finish in 2018 in Mendota Heights.

“I was kinda nervous on the first tee [at the State Championship] because there were almost 100 people watching you tee off, but I hit a good drive so that helped me calm down,” Nolan said. “I enjoy the pressure of tournaments — that is when I play my best.

Despite his previous success and taking home first place in Minnetonka, Nolan actually thought he shot poorly in the State Championship.

“I was not happy after my round. I did not think I played good. I thought I could have done 5-7 shots better,” he said. “But I was happy after the last group reported their scores and I found out that I won.”

Currently nine years old, Nolan is in just his third year of golfing. He said he began golfing at the age of seven after his grandpa, Brian Mathiowetz, took him golfing at Sleepy Eye Golf Club. Nolan’s love for the game grew from there.

With the number of different courses he has golfed on, he says the Lafayette Golf Club in Minnetonka is his favorite.

Nolan’s love for the game can be tied in with his inspiration. He looks towards Brooks Koepka at the pro level and his uncle Brett Mathiowetz. Last year, Nolan, his father Brent, and Uncle Brett won the St. Mary’s Alumni Tournament at Sleepy Eye Golf Club. Nolan won the tournament for his team on the final hole with a 20-foot putt.

Nolan also enjoys golfing with Cody Berkner and Sleepy Eye United Head Golf Coach Bryant Mages. He works with Caleb Christensen twice a week and has a lot of fun in growing his game with Caleb.

Next year, Nolan will hike up an age level as he will enter the 10-12 age group.He said, “Next year my goal is to golf even par rounds; 38 has been my best this year. I also want to start driving the ball 200 yards by the end of next year.” His current goal for the tour is to finish in the top five, although another tournament championship would be “pretty cool.”

Nolan enjoys many other sports including baseball, basketball, and football. You can likely catch him mastering his craft on a golf course, a ball field, or a basketball court at any given time. Nolan is a fourth grader at St. Mary’s School.