Warrenton sophomore Ethan Luecke picked an opportune time to deliver his best performance of the season.
The Warriors’ No. 1 golfer carded a 71 at Heritage Hills Golf Course in Moberly last Wednesday, winning the Class 3 District 4 championship. Luecke shot a 35 on the front nine, before turning in a 36 on the back stretch.
“He peaked at the right time,” said coach Rich Barton. “Hopefully he can go out and put together another good round to earn his way to state.
“I think he felt a little nervous going into districts,” added Barton. “Once he hit that first tee shot he relaxed and played an excellent round.”
Luecke was the only Warrenton golfer to advance to sectionals, as the Warriors finished fifth out of 11 teams, shooting a 336.
“I started off with one right down the middle, and my round went well from there,” said Luecke. “I bogeyed the third hole but then came right back with a birdie, so I knew it was going to be a pretty good day.”
Luecke became the Warriors’ second individual champion in three years.
“It’s awesome to have two district champs in three years from Warrenton,” said Luecke. “I feel like ever since conference, I’ve been playing well.”
Sophomore Chase Nelson landed safely among the Top 15 with an 80 but was disqualified after a scorecard mishap. Barton says the incident was unfortunate and will provide a valuable lesson for future meets.
“It’s a learning experience,” said Barton. “He didn’t check his card twice before he signed, but he’ll learn from the mistake, and this will come back to help him down the road.”
With Nelson eliminated from the scoring, the cutoff score became 85. Junior T.J. Lafaver missed qualifying for sectionals by one stroke, shooting an 86.
“He’s such a competitor that he can probably remember a few strokes he left on the course,” acknowledged Barton.
Lafaver cut 19 strokes off his round from last year’s district competition, and Barton expects the progress to continue into next season for the Warriors’ No. 3 golfer.
“He’s still a young golfer and has improved a lot this year,” said Barton. “He should be able to take another step forward as a senior.”
Senior Tyler Romaker carded an 88, shaving 11 strokes off his district performance from 2011.
Sophomore Luke Hawley also saved his best round for last, shooting a season-low 91 in the No. 5 spot.
“I certainly wasn’t disappointed in those guys,” said Barton. “They played well and helped out the team.”
With Nelson’s disqualification, Hawley’s score was included in the team scoring. By adding 11 strokes the Warriors moved from third to fifth place among what Barton calls a very competitive field.
Hannibal claimed the district title with a 293, while Mexico finished second by shooting a 322.
“Hannibal shot unbelievably well,” said Barton, who says the scores were lower this year than they had been at the previous two district meets.
The Warriors’ 336 score was just six strokes over the mark from their district title showing in 2010.
Luecke will compete in sectional play at Innsbrook on Thursday. Tee time is 9 a.m.
“That’s the course I’ve played the second-most, so I really do feel confident there,” said Luecke. “I’ve shot a lot of good rounds there.”
“He’s got the game to challenge at the state level,” added Barton.
Luecke also says the notion of moving on without his shouldn’t hinder his chances.
“I’ve played in a lot of tournaments by myself, so I should be fine,” said Luecke.
Teams advancing from Class 3 District 3 were Westminster and MICDS.