His last putt at the Northern Illinois Big 12 West Tournament was his 40th.
Dixon High School senior Ryan Dixon struggled mightily with his putter at Senica's Oak Ridge Golf Club last Wednesday in LaSalle. He'll take on the same course today in the Class 2A LaSalle-Peru Regional.
"I'm ready for it. I've got some practice in with coach [Pat Lessner] on my short game," said Dixon, who shot an 87 at the conference meet. "I got my stroke back, and hopefully it will be better. I've got some confidence back."
"He will do a lot better," Lessner said. "I am confident in him. He was swinging well. He just made some mental errors and threw away a couple strokes."
At regionals, the top three teams and top 10 individuals not on those teams advance to sectionals.
"I'll be surprised if he doesn't make it out," Lessner said. "He's got a good mental attitude going into regionals."
Dixon has a goal in mind for his regional round.
"Seventy-six is the golden number," he said. "Anything below that is even better."
Sterling and Rock Falls will also be competing at the LaSalle-Peru Regional, and are among the favorites to advance. But, don't count out the Dukes, says Dixon.
"Our team can make it," Dixon said. "We can get out as a team. We have a good chance at it."
Dixon couldn't put his finger on any specific reason for his putting struggles at the conference tournament.
"It was just one of those days. Nothing was dropping," Dixon said. "It was just a bad day. The greens are a little faster, which I like."
Dixon is still relatively new to competitive golf. He played once or twice a week with his dad for a few years before kicking it into high gear.
"The summer going into my sophomore year, I wanted to get really good at golf for some reason," the former soccer player said. "I started playing about five times a week. I saw coach Lessner at the course all the time. He helped me a lot."
"He's only been playing golf for 3 years," Lessner said. "He's made some big leaps. It's remarkable how much he's advanced."
Sports: Baseball, bowling, golf
FYI: Dixon is somewhat ambidextrous. He writes, throws and bats, shoots a basketball, and golfs right-handed. He eats and plays ping pong and pool left-handed, and he kicks left-footed. The main thing he can do relatively equally with both hands is bowl.