Hawthorn shines in LEC Championship

Brady Hawthorn teeing off to a second place finish in the LEC Championship.

The ball is stripped off the club 280 yards dead center into the fairway. It was then chipped onto the green, and putt in to close out the hole.

That is what junior Brady Hawthorn’s round of golf was like during the LEC Championship on Oct. 5-6 at Riverside Golf Course.

But only after some early struggles.

“It was a battle out there since I got off to such a rough start. After bogeying the fifth hole to get to six-over, I knew I had to make an adjustment if I wanted to keep myself in contention. I switched back to the green reading technique I used in high school, and it restored the confidence in my putting that I had been missing all season. I also hit the next 11 greens in a row, so I was able to rattle off some birdies and get myself back into contention,” Hawthorn said.

Hawthorn led the Spartans to a third-place finish shooting a season best 73 both days, while Andrew Stefura shot a 77 and 79, Zack Whittaker shot an 85 and 79, Aubrey Ramsey shot an 86 and 81, and Zach Papapetros finished with a 95 and 82.

“It was nice being able to look to Andrew and Brady to lead the way since they’ve been here before. I’m already pumped and looking forward to next year knowing what I know now,” Whittaker said.

Day two of the championship is where the team shined and locked up third place with shooting a team combined +32 for a total over the two days of +73 on a course that played much tougher on the first day for the Spartans.

Papapetros, a junior, credits a team bonding effort after the rough first day for the team’s second-day surge.

“Going to dinner as a team the night before I think is why we did better day two,” said Papapetros

For three of the five players, it was their first time in the LEC championship.

“The experience was unbelievable. The course was amazing and the food was outstanding,” Papapetros said.

“It was a super cool experience for me being my first time at the conference championship. It was a bit of a learning curve too, coming off a tough first round and having to bounce back the next day,” Whittaker said.

The LEC Championship marked the end of the 2023 season for the golf team. The team concluded the season with two top three finishes and a couple individual awards for the players.

Hawthorn received First Team All-LEC honors for the second straight year and Andrew Stefura received Second Team All-LEC honors.

“I think next year we should have a good shot at making a title run. We’re bringing in some strong recruits, and all of us have another year of experience under our belts. I look forward to getting one last run as part of the program,” Hawthorn said.

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