Nashville's Jordan Harre honors dying father's wish on the golf course

Illinois High School AssociationOctober 17, 2013 

Jordan Harre's father Kevin told him several times over the last few months that no matter what happened to him, he wanted Jordan to play golf.

Diagnosed with terminal cancer just over two years ago, Kevin Harre sensed that his time was short. The two were playing darts at their home on the evening of Oct. 7, when Kevin repeated his wish and wished his son good luck at the IHSA boys golf regional scheduled for the next morning, before retiring to bed.

A senior standout on the Nashville High School boys golf team, Jordan had helped the Hornets reach the Class 1A state finals as a junior in 2012, where the team placed sixth in a rain-shortened 18-hole tourney.

Jordan went to bed around 11 p.m., only to have his mother wake him up three hours later to alert him that an ambulance was coming to take his dad to the hospital.

"It was something that had happened several times before," said Jordan. "I figured that they would get everything regulated and he would be OK like the other times. He was in a lot of pain."

Kevin died on the ride to the hospital, as Jordan and his family members rushed there to console one another. At the hospital, Jordan and his mother talked about honoring his father's wish to continue playing. About 4 a.m., Jordan called Hornets coach Jason Guest to let him know what had happened.

"My initial thought was he needed to be with family and didn't need to play golf that day," said Guest. "We talked and he said that he wanted to fulfill his dad's wish.

"I was OK with it, knowing how close-knit of a family they are and that his mom and dad both wanted him to be on the golf course."

Running on about three hours sleep, Jordan went directly from the hospital to the golf course and admits he began to second-guess his decision.

"As we got closer to the course, I had a knot in my stomach. I started to wonder if I had made the right decision. Should I be playing golf? Should I be with my family?" recalled Jordan.

Being around his teammates and good friends helped Jordan settle in when he arrived at the Okawville Regional at Roland Barkau Memorial Golf Course. Being grouped with golfers from Okawville, Woodlawn and Chester for the round only offered more relief.

"I know the guys from those schools really well and I got to play with (Okawville's) Jacob Brammeier, who I have known since forever and is one of my best friends," Jordan said. "They did a great job of keeping my mind off of it and talking about anything and everything else."

The talk around the course quickly turned to Jordan's play, as he shot a blistering 5-under-par 66 to capture individual medalist honors.

Both Jordan and Guest vividly remember the walk up 18 that afternoon, as about 30 family and friends were in attendance to show their support.

"I had mixed emotions about it all going in," said Guest. "But that was an incredible moment to see everyone there waiting for him and cheering him on. It was a great moment in a bad day."

"My dad was with me on every shot and every hole, I know that," said Jordan. "It was an amazing feeling and a great way to help me cope. It (his father's death) really didn't set in until two or three days later. I remember being out on the course and thinking that I couldn't wait to get home and tell my dad how good I played."

Jordan attended his father's funeral that Friday, then helped the Hornets win the Robinson Sectional at Quail Creek Country Club three days later. Jordan and junior teammate Kyler Spencer each carded a 78 at the sectional to help clinch Nashville's third consecutive state final berth.

Jordan and his teammates will compete in the IHSA Class 1A Boys Golf State Finals at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington today and Saturday.

When asked what his goal for the state tournament is, Jordan matter-of-factly replied, "to have fun. Two of my best friends (and 2012 Nashville teammates) Chance (Reuter) and Brock (Wuebbles) didn't get to play their final round of high school golf because of the rain last year."

Jordan expects Chance and Brock to be in attendance at Prairie Vista on Saturday to watch him finish his career, and he hopes he can reward their support by placing in the Top 10 and shooting below 80.

No matter the outcome, he is keeping his father's wish.

"I am playing for my dad this weekend," he said.

This story was published on the IHSA website's Spotlight. Matt Troha is an IHSA assistant executive director.

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