Leone a consistent force for Butler
Tornado golfer balanced busy schedule

By John Enrietto 
Eagle Sports Editor 

PENN TWP — Practice makes perfect. But work makes money. 

Butler senior Nic Leone opted for the latter over the summer, knowing his golf game may be affected. 
“I still got in some practice and played a bit, but nothing like the past few years,” Leone said. “A friend and I started our own lawn care business over the summer. 
“We spent a lot of time cutting grass.” 
Butler golf coach Travis Shingleton estimated Leone worked “close to 60 hours a week ... That doesn't leave much time for playing golf.” 
Still, the
Butler senior averaged 39 for nine holes this season. 
It marked his fourth successive season of averaging below 40 for the Golden Tornado. 
A four-year varsity starter for
Butler, Leone averaged 37.5 strokes per nine holes his junior year, 38 as a sophomore and 39 as a freshman. He wound up about half a stroke shy of breaking John Aubrey Jr.'s career record of 37.8 per nine holes. 
Shingleton was a teammate of Aubrey's and coached Leone. 
“John was all about golf,” the coach recalled. “He played every day. It was his passion. 
“When Nic became an 18-year-old, his time management skills were tested with work, school, college applications, golf, etc. He plays lacrosse at
Butler, too.” 
To average below 40 four straight years is no small achievement. 
“You rarely see that kind of consistency on the course from a kid age 15 through 18,” Shingleton said. 
“I wish I could have done a little better this year,” Leone said, his season ending in the WPIAL semifinals for a second successive year. “But I am proud of shooting below 40 every year. 
“I just didn't hit as many high-quality shots as last year. Yeah, working so much probably had a lot to do with that. My game wasn't where it should have been at the start of the season.” 
It was still plenty good, however. 
Leone averages 270 to 280 yards off the tee. 
“He was a true leader on this team and he did so by example. He took golf as seriously as his academics and he carries above a 3.5 grade point.” 
Butler junior varsity coach and former varsity assistant Mike Menchyk said Leone's maturity level has been his biggest change through the years. 
“He had the skills as a freshman, but he was raw,” Menchyk said. “He developed the ability and confidence to execute shots.” 
Leone is looking to study business or accounting in college. 
He is uncertain whether he will play collegiate golf. 
“St. Vincent and IUP (Indiana) are schools I've applied to where I would golf,” he said. “I'm going to talk to the Youngstown State golf coach as well. 
“I may wind up at Penn State or Akron, where I might just play on a club team or something. I'm undecided that way.” 
He will continue to play golf either way. 
“My dad (Dan Leone) golfed a lot and he took me on the driving range or on the course with him when I was 9 or 10,” Leone recalled. “I fell in love with the game. Whether I play in college or not. I'll always work on my game. 
“I'll still play in local tournaments. I'll be involved. I'll keep working on my game to make myself more attractive to college coaches, too.”