Jeff Petersilla

Special Olympics Athlete of the Month Jeff Petersilla is joined by region sports manager Tim Philibosian, left, and golf coach Matt Collier. (Rocco Constantino photo)

Jeff Petersilia’s passion for golf has made him a celebrity at the Santa Barbara Golf Club.

“Jeff has become a fixture over at Muni golf course,” said Matt Collier, the coach of the Santa Barbara Region Special Olympics golf team. “He’s there all the time and he’s playing all the time.”

Petersilia’s hard work was rewarded with the Special Olympics Athlete of the Month Award. He was presented the award at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.

Petersilia earned medalist honors at the Special Olympics Santa Barbara Classic at Twin Lakes Golf Course. He shot a nine-hole round of 42.

Collier said Petersilia regularly plays 18 holes at SBGC.

“What we’ve seen in his game develop in the last three years is pretty incredible in terms of his ability to play golf at a higher level than I ever had expectations for him,” said the coach.

The coach added that Petersilia is great at supporting his teammates and complimenting them on their shots.

“Jeff is such a leader on that in terms of raising all our athletes each and every week that we have practice,” Collier said.

The golf team has 16 athletes ranging from age 13 to 70.

In other Special Olympics news, Tim Philibosian, the sports manager for the region, said the annual Tennis Classic is set for Saturday at Pershing Park.

The event features local high school and college tennis players partnering with Special Olympic athletes on the courts.

“It’s one of our best events of the year, put on by tennis coach Liz Frech,” said Philibosian.

Also, Special Olympics is looking for a venue to host its Soccer School Games, schedule for Dec. 6.

The event is usually held at Girsh Park, but Philibosian was told the park will be undergoing repairs at that time and won’t be available.

Noozhawk Sports Editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.