STERLING – A year ago, Sterling boys golfer Carter Schlegel got his season off to something of a rough start.
This fall, it's been smooth sailing for the Golden Warriors senior. He had a team-low 43 in a Western Big 6 dual with Alleman August 18, followed that with an 87 to lead the way in a tournament at Kaneland the following week, then won the Rocket Invitational on September 5 at Rock River Golf and Pool, shooting a career-low 77.
So far this year, Schlegel is averaging a 42.44 over nine holes. By the end of the year, he's hoping to have a round at even par. He's shot 7-over for 18 holes in practice.
His biggest focus on the course this fall is working to be a more consistent golfer.
"I really don't like going out one day and shooting 3-over and the next day being 7-over," he said. "It just doesn't make me feel good. But three days straight if I do consistently, I'll be happy."
That consistency is something Sterling coach Nick Hubbard has seen a lot more of from Schlegel over the past few years as Schlegel has gotten more and more rounds of golf under his belt. Hubbard has seen Schlegel learn more about his own game, and learn to avoid following one bad shot with another.
"He's starting to think the game a little bit better," Hubbard said. "Getting around the golf course is not just hitting a ball from Point A to Point B. If it was that easy, we'd all be on the [PGA] Tour. It's more about if you get in trouble, getting yourself back into a good position to try to save that par or no worse than bogey."
Schlegel's work to hone his skills in the summer was not sidetracked by COVID-19, which forced closures of courses for a time in the spring.
"If the course was open, I was out here," he said. "I tried to put in a lot of work this summer."
He wanted to work on his short game, where he feels he has improved a lot, and on his drives over the summer.
"I've just been trying to put in the work and give it my best," he said.
While the drives will get there, Hubbard said it's the short game which has really paced Schlegel lately.
"The last couple of meets he's really been putting the ball really, really well," Hubbard said. "It comes down to if you can make that four-footer for par, or even for bogey when it really means something, and to keep a round going. He's been doing that lately, and hopefully it continues."
Last year as a junior, Schlegel qualified for the sectional, shooting a 91 at the LaSalle-Peru Regional to claim the ninth individual qualifying spot before carding a 113 at the Burlington Central Sectional the following week.
Like every other golfer in the state, Schlegel doesn't know if his 2020 season will end at the state meet, since there is no guarantee that there will be one with restrictions in place due to COVID-19.
But if a chance at another sectional or even a state meet bid is up for grabs or not, he is hoping to continue this strong senior season on the links.
"Even if there isn't state or sectionals, I'm still going to try to give it my best," he said. "Play like there is a sectional or state on the line, give it my all."