After failing to make it to the state golf tournament last year, Mattoon High senior Stewart Druin looked to practice the pressure.
The Mattoon High School golfer won the Apollo Conference as a sophomore and was a part of the unofficial state qualifying team. As a junior, Druin missed out on winning medalist honors but was All-Conference for a second year.
The Green Wave advanced to the IHSA Sectional Championship but Druin watched teammates Madden Johnson and Blaine Powers make the state tournament.
Druin has been practicing his game since the season ended, playing in tournaments all summer. He has participated in tournaments in Notay Begay in Texas, as well as the American Golf Junior Association Tournament in Pekin.
“I wanted to make myself more aware to college coaches,” said Druin. “It has definitely helped for the upcoming season because those tournaments are more competitive. There’s a lot more pressure. I have to go out there and make cuts in a very competitive field.”
Given that his sophomore season did not have a state series, and he missed out last year, this is Druin’s last shot going into his senior year. The team has a goal of qualifying together but Druin said his progress this summer has helped with his confidence going into this season.
“I wouldn’t say it’s in the back of my mind because I expect even if I play badly to make it just because of my progress over the summer,” said Druin. “My bad rounds are good enough to compete for a medal, which really brings up my confidence and going out there and going for the gold.”
Mattoon boasts the past two Apollo Conference champions in Druin and sophomore Johnson. Druin said that having a triple threat at the top of the lineup card is going to make the Green Wave a tough team to beat.
The Green Wave have won the last two conference team titles.
“The competition for conference is great, especially with my own teammates shows that we have some depth and we are going to dominate in the conference as a team,” said Druin.
Druin’s goal: to have an under-par scoring average throughout the season. He said that as long as there is no negativity that this team can go very far.
“I believe every tournament we show up to we have a good chance to bring back a win,” said Druin. ”Even if we don’t all play well, we can still bring back some hardware.”