EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 11, 2012

A champion on two fronts

Windham's Greenleaf overcoming illness

By Hector Longo hlongo@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Sitting in the doctor’s office, wondering why his body ached so much, Connor Greenleaf chided his father, Brad, when he asked his son be tested for Lyme disease.

“Everyone knows golfers hang around the woods,” the Windham High senior said. “You go in the long grass, and the ticks will find you.”

But not Greenleaf. One of the top amateurs in the region, he hits it straight.

“I thought testing for it was ridiculous,” said Greenleaf. “I guess it had to be looking for someone else’s ball then, not mine.”

Greenleaf can joke now, especially since he got the last laugh Saturday — overcoming illness, tough conditions and a four-shot hole to win the NHIAA Division 2 State Individual title.

The talented 17-year-old had hardly broken a smile through the fall season, fighting a disease that only was diagnosed correctly a couple weeks ago.

“This was the first time, I’ve ever been ‘disease’ sick. I’ve never been a sick person, so that’s why it was such a surprise,” said Greenleaf, explaining the symptoms.

“I had entered a couple tournaments back toward the end of summer, but had to withdraw because I was vomiting on the course. It’s not like a sharp pain, it’s achiness.

“It gets harder and harder to move and mostly affected my energy. Getting up for school was practically impossible. To even play a rounds of golf after school was agonizing. I had no energy left. It was a grind.”

To Greenleaf’s credit, he gritted out Windham’s second straight unbeaten regular season, only recently having antibiotics prescribed to treat the disease.

Right up until last weekend’s state finals he was feeling the effects.

“At one point, it was just terrible. I remember vomiting in a high school match and continuing on,” he said. “But only in the last three weeks did things start to get better.

Greenleaf and Windham tasted disappointment, coming up third in the team race Thursday, but that set him up to make a run Saturday in the individual.

“I was four back, not guaranteed anything at all, so I was really comfortable out there,” he said.

“At that point, I was the underdog. From the team perspective, we had messed up,and I was playing for the dignity of our team.”

Saturday, he delivered the round of the tournament, a two-under par 70 to defeat first-round co-leader Tom Hickson of St. Thomas by a pair of shots.

“Now that the summer tournament season and school golf are over I may try to take a little break,” said Greenleaf, who typically was back on the range at Windham CC, Tuesday after school.

“I’ve got a couple more tournaments in October and one in December, and I might take a Florida trip in November, if I feel up to it. I’m looking forward to getting away from it now for a little bit. Just not to long.”

Follow Eagle-Tribune Sports Reporter Hector Longo on Twitter under the screen name @MVcreature.



What is Lyme disease? Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. (Source: CDC.gov)