Top Golfer Confident of USC Transfer and Turning Pro

Gerard Santos

Nick Quintanilla’s plan to become a pro golfer began as a freshman in high school when he dusted off cobwebs from a set of golf clubs at a garage sale and later purchased them. Nowadays, his golfing is just as clean.

Quintanilla, now in his second semester at Glendale College, had no golfing background prior to buying those set of golf clubs. He played different sports throughout his life and had only started playing golf as a freshman in Alhambra High School. Thanks to dedicated practice his golf showed swift improvement, he eventually became his high school’s No. 1 golfer.

Quintanilla was drawn to head coach Greg Osbourne’s recruitment pitch of receiving a USC scholarship if he played well enough in Glendale College. He is now the No. 1-ranked golfer on the team, and the pressure of being on top only makes him play well week in and week out. It also helps to have a Professional Golfers’ Association member like Osbourne to guide him.

Despite having team practices like Friday mornings at 6 a.m. and team trips to Oakmont country club every Tuesdays and Thursdays, Quintanilla prefers playing in solitude. When he’s not caddying at the Alhambra golf course, he practices alone, which he says improves his game most. “I can still focus very well when playing alone. I can be very critical of things like my swing and I think I get a lot better doing so,” Quintanilla said.

The result is unmistakable. In the Glendale College tie for second during the Western State Conference competition on March 3 at Alisal Ranch Country Club in Solvang, Quintanilla shot a 2-under-par 70 to earn medalist honors. Glendale College shot a 381, tied with Ventura College and three strokes behind College of the Canyons.

Practicing in seclusion, however, doesn’t mean Quintanilla doesn’t get along with his teammates. The group of first-year freshmen is a fun bunch, evident through all the smiles and laughter during even their 6 a.m. practices. The close-knit group travels together and practices meticulously, but also joke, tease and prank one another – and Osbourne can do nothing but chuckle about it.

“I don’t know why there’s going to be a feature on Nick,” teammates Bernard Leon and Joe Boonnopornkul joked. “You should be writing about us. We’re a lot more interesting.”

Although Quintanilla is always a part of the enjoyment, he is very serious about his goal to become a professional golfer. When asked if turning pro was his dream, Quintanilla said, “I would never call it my dream. A dream is something that you just think about and hope to happen. Going pro is my ‘goal.’ I’m very confident that if I keep working hard enough here and at USC, it’ll just be a matter of time until I’m good enough.”

Osbourne hopes Quintanilla and the rest of the team continue their stellar play when they travel to Santa Maria country club for a Western State Conference match against Allan Hancock College on Monday.