Ethan Luecke woke up on Monday feeling lousy.
By late afternoon, his spirits were lifted.
The Warrenton junior’s immune system may have failed him, but his ability to persevere through adversity countered. Luecke shot an 80 at Innsbrook during the Class 3 Sectional Golf Tournament, narrowly advancing.
“Yesterday, I felt so bad that I wasn’t even sure I’d make it through the day,” he acknowledged.
Luecke was the only member of his team to qualify for the MSHSAA Championships, which will be held at the Sedalia Country Club on May 13-14.
“I was pretty weak the whole day,” said Luecke. “It took a lot of energy out of me, but I made it through.”
Coach Rich Barton says few other young golfers could have handled the circumstance of playing with high stakes and lugging a bag of clubs 18 holes with the humility Luecke did.
“I was really proud of the way he battled through that,” said Barton. “He was up and down throughout the round.”
Luecke made the turn after nine holes still confident and overcame uncharacteristic putting woes in the final nine.
“I hit quite a few fairways and was hitting my drive pretty straight,” said Luecke. “But with my putting, I didn’t have a whole lot of one putts.”
He calmly punched a ball out of the woods on hole No. 12, escaping a tricky predicament that could have cost him a trip to state.
“I felt like I was playing pretty well,” said Luecke. “I just had a couple holes that hurt my score.”
Heading toward the clubhouse after his 18th hole, Luecke still feared he might not have advanced.
“I figured 80 would be the cut, so I knew I’d be close coming in,” he acknowledged.
After falling one spot shy of All-State recognition last season, Luecke is determined to land among the Top 15 at next week’s MSHSAA Tournament.
“I want to go up there, have fun and give it my best shot,” said Luecke.
Senior T.J. Lafaver golfed the final round of his prep career on Monday, carding an 87, which was six strokes shy of qualifying position.
Junior Chase Nelson had a troublesome day, shooting an 89 on a course at which he claims to have prospered in the past. But this season Innsbrook has provided its share of frustration for Warrenton’s No. 2 golfer. He had carded a 93 during the GAC Tournament on the same links.
“Sometimes you have to battle the elements and sometimes the elements win,” said Barton.
Juniors Curtis Bauer and Luke Hawley also competed for the Warriors on Monday, shooting a 108 and 120, respectively.
“That was a big step to qualify as a team and come to sectionals in itself,” said Barton. “I know the others are disappointed in their individual scores today, but I’m not ashamed.”