Final tuneup for ex-Marian golfer Waggoner
Former Marian Central Catholic High School golf standout Luke Waggoner wrapped up his junior McHenry County golf career Aug. 1 on his 19th birthday with a victory in the McHenry County Junior Golf Association Crystal Woods Open. Waggoner won the two-day tournament shooting 4-over-par 76 both days
Waggoner graduated this past spring and left Marian as the most successful golfer in school history. He finished second in the IHSA Class 2A state golf tournament in October 2011 and competed in the state tournament all four years while at Marian.
Waggoner, who is now officially too old to compete in junior tournaments, is not planning on playing any more tournaments this summer as he prepares for the start of college at Villanova University, Philadelphia, Aug. 27.
“It was a good time for me to stop,” Waggoner said. “The rounds at Crystal Woods were very good for me in terms of progress.”
Waggoner played in fewer tournaments this summer, minimizing the number of junior tournaments and entering a few men’s tournament qualifiers including the Illinois Open and the Illinois State Amateur. He did not qualify for any of the men’s tournaments but said he felt the experience was valuable.
“I knew that was where I would find better competition, and after this summer, those were the only tournaments I could play in anyway,” he said. “I certainly learned a lot this summer. My play was not very good on the whole. I feel it’s easier to learn more when you are playing poorly. I learned a lot about the mental game and about how to make a score when you’re playing poorly. The game comes easy when you hit where you want to.”
Two of Waggoner’s goals this summer were more rest and practice than in years past.
He took multiple days off from golf on several occasions and spent time reading books and watching DVDs from Dr. Bob Rotella, who is an acclaimed golf psychologist.
“The thing I need to take the most from him is when you’re playing poorly on the course, you need to trust your swing instead of trying to fix it,” he said. “Attempting to fix it will only make it worse. … It brings doubt into play.”
Time off the course this summer helped Waggoner realize how much he loved the game of golf.
“This summer has kept me hungry and has made me realize how much I really do enjoy the game,” he said, noting that when he was playing for scouts he started looking at the game as a responsibility. “This summer, I realized how much I really do love playing.”
Waggoner, who will study business, will leave Aug. 21 for college. The team’s first tournament is Labor Day weekend and, unlike high school where Waggoner played in every tournament, he will need to qualify against other team members to play in tournaments.
“I am a little excited and a little nervous,” Waggoner said. “I just want to be able to bring my ‘A’ game. I trust that I have practiced enough and have what it takes to bring out my best.”