Justin Hemings stands in front of a sign at the entrance to the city of Edwardsville with his name on it. He was honored that way after capturing the Class 3A state individual golf championship.EDWARDSVILLE - Justin Hemings has had a lot of big things happen in his life over the last year, including capturing the IHSA Class 3A state individual championship and today he signed a letter of intent to attend Northern Illinois University.

Hemings shot a 1-under 71 on the final day of the individual state championship this past fall for an overall score of 145 to place two strokes ahead of Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge’s Ethan Farnam, who scored a 72 on the final day of the tournament for an overall 147. The state golf tournament was held at The Den at Fox Ridge in Bloomington.

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Hemings said after an official signing early Monday morning that he was excited about going to a school with a “high caliber team,” who plays “good competition.”

The Edwardsville golf star said capturing the state championship definitely opens some doors for him in the recruiting process.

“I got off to a little bit of a slow start in the recruiting process, but I think no matter what I had done I think I would have still chosen Northern as my school,” he said. “It is really exciting. I have had the best opportunities somebody could ask for, now I am going to try to make the most of them.”

Hemings said Northern Illinois has one of the top ranked business schools in the country and he plans to major in finance or business. Hemings thanked all his array of coaches at Edwardsville High School for their work with him, developing him into the golfer he is today.

“All my teachers at Edwardsville High School have also been supportive of me as a student-athlete,” Hemings said.

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The Edwardsville High School youth also thanked his parents for their help and assistance in his golf career and his life in general.

“My parents were proud and excited I was going to get to go to school somewhere I want to go,” Hemings said. He said his parents and entire family beam about the state individual championship this past fall.

“I played golf down in Florida on my grandpa’s course and everybody down there talked about me winning the state championship,” the young golfer added.

Hemings has some simple goals going into his time at Northern Illinois: “I hope to play as well as I can and if that means playing at No. 5 or No. 1, I want to be playing to the best of my abilities.”

Nearly all golfers dream of one day playing professional golf and Hemings is no different; he has those aspirations.

“I think it is a goal for everybody, but it is something I have to reassess after college,” he said. “If I feel I have a chance, I will try to give it a couple years before I get out and get a job.”

 

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