Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

October 14, 2013

Baker walks alone for Indians Lone Neoga golfer heads to Sectionals today

NEOGA — Luke Baker still has the scorecard from the first time he played golf – a 26-over-par nine holes he played with a hybrid, a 9-iron and a putter because he didn't own a set of clubs.

That was no more than two years ago and now Baker can't remember the last time he wasn't on the course, catching the fever on the day of one of his two worst rounds – he said the round after his 26-over-par day was worse.

“I loved it, as soon as I started,” Baker said. “You see people go out the first time and get so mad because you know (the ball) is supposed to go straight, but it goes right or it goes left.”

Baker said he wasn't the recreational player who lost his composure after a bad shot, which has been his meal ticket all the way to today's Sectionals in Danville.

The layers of challenges on a golf course interested him from day one, Baker said, because it was different than other sports, especially basketball.

“If you're a really good shooter, you're good at basketball, or if you're a good dribbler, you're considered good at basketball,” Baker said. “In golf, you can hit (the ball) down the middle every time, but if you can't chip or putt or hit irons then you're not good at golf. It's a game, inside of a game, inside of a game.”

Baker is always playing golf; in fact, the 16-year-old said his days and driving patterns are simple and routine, driving to school, the golf course and “maybe McDonald's.”

His life hasn't been the same since he fell in love with the game two years ago and convinced the Neoga School Board to allow him to play competitively for Neoga High School, which didn't have a golf team until Baker stepped forward as a freshman.

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