Marion High School golfer Hogan Lovelady started the season in style April 3 by winning the Herington Invitational tournament at Herington Country Club.
Lovelady carded a 78 on the rolling par 72 layout. On that day, all parts of his game were in sync.
“I was hitting it straight, everything was going right,” Lovelady said. “I’d hit a bad shot and I could come back with a good one, my putter got hot, everything was just clicking that day.”
Marion head coach Thane Schwartz said the key to Lovelady’s success was paying attention to fundamentals.
“He kept his head down, swung smoothly, and listened for the putt to drop in the cup, and if you do all those things you come out with a good score,” Schwartz said.
“I think he’s capable of taking first at all the tournaments, but we have a lot of good players out here and the competition is stiff.”
The competition and the course were both more challenging April 10 at the Emporia Invitational.
Lovelady and teammate Wiley Lundy both shot 90 on the 18-hole layout. When a tie-breaking system was applied, Lovelady placed 11th, and Lundy 13th.
Marion traveled Monday to Council Grove for the nine-team invitational tournament played at Council Grove Country Club. Steep hills, blind shots, and fast greens made this course the sternest test of the season.
Lovelady and Lundy matched scores again, each soaring to a 98 on the par-72 course.
“The greens were the best greens we’ve played so far, but it’s by far the hardest course,” Lovelady said. “It doesn’t help when you’re not hitting it well.”
Schwartz said the challenging course and higher scores will benefit the team as the season unfolds.
“It humbled them, which is good for them. It’s good for them to shoot a bad score now and then, it keeps them coming back,” Schwartz said.
Lovelady said the course revealed areas of his game he will focus on in practice.
“I still need to work on shots 150 yards and in, but around the greens I’m getting more consistent. Off the tee I need to work on my driver a little more, get that straightened up. Once I get those I should be good,” Lovelady said.
The team’s next tournament is April 27 in Salina.