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DAILY NEWS BOYS GOLFERS OF THE YEAR: Meet St. Anthony senior Lane Ludwig

Jan. 9—EFFINGHAM — St. Anthony senior golfer Lane Ludwig is one of three Daily News Boys Golfers of the Year.

Ludwig finished this past season for the Bulldogs with an 18-hole scoring average of 76.3. In the postseason, he shot a 72 and finished tied for fourth at the McLeansboro (Hamilton County) Regional, a 79 at the Waterloo (Gibault Catholic) Sectional and topped it all off by finishing tied for 11th at the Class 1A State Final Tournament at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington. Ludwig shot 73 the first day and 79 the second.

St. Anthony also won its second successive state championship, downing Port Byron (Riverdale) by a two-day tally of 622-628.

"He had an up-and-down year, honestly," head coach Phil Zaccari said. "He had a couple scores in a couple tournaments where he tried to put too much pressure on himself. At the beginning of the year, we said, 'You got to relax,' but there was always something in a round somewhere where it was always one or two numbers and that would take him from shooting a 71 to shooting a 77.

"Overall, I don't think he was satisfied with his senior year, but you win a state championship and that's got to mean something."

Ludwig is signed to National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division III-member Illinois Wesleyan University to continue his golf career.

Zaccari is looking forward to seeing if Ludwig — a three-time Daily News All-Area Boys Golf selection — can take that next step in what is sure to be a bright future.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how he accepts the challenge. This is going to be a measuring stick for him," Zaccari said. "Illinois Wesleyan has a very good team and they've signed a couple of really good players and I think Lane's looking forward to that challenge."

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Ludwig was asked a series of questions from Daily News Sports Editor Alex Wallner.

Below is how he responded.

AW: Thoughts on your season overall?

LL: "The season was the most fun I have ever had as a St. Anthony golfer. My teammates and coaches, the trophies and courses made this season very memorable for me. Everyone was very close to each other, we had the best bus talks and picked each other up when one of was down. What I loved about this season the most, though, was our work ethic — a lot of us would stay after practice to play some holes or compete in a competition of some sort. The amount of hours we put in helped us win the state championship and I couldn't have asked for a better ending to my last high school golf season."

AW: What does this program mean to you?

LL: "When my brother won his state championship in 2018, I saw how successful the program was and I knew that was a program I would like to be a part of. I started to take golf seriously then. Over the four years at St. Anthony, Coach Zaccari helped me a ton, whether it was in the classroom or on the golf course. The amount of hours he put into the team, like taking us to play courses in the summer, practice and tournaments really shows he cares."

AW: Finished as the lowest individual on the team for the season. Talk about your season overall — the ups and downs you had and how you worked through everything.

LL: "The start of the season was very consistent for me. I would shoot mid-to-high 70s almost every tournament. As the season progressed, I got a little frustrated with being in the high 70s and I think being frustrated hurt me a lot. Mid-season, I couldn't pull it together and played terribly, shooting in the 80s. I worked on my mental game and slowly got back to my old self. The last part of the season was some of the best golf I played in my life, consistently shooting in the low 70s. At state, I shot a 73 on the first day in tough conditions and the second day was rough, but I pulled through with a 79 and a state championship for our team. The overall season helped me grow as a golfer and ultimately helped bring home the title."

AW: What does a second-straight state title mean to you? Does it ever get old raising that trophy?

LL: "The back-to-back trophies mean a lot, knowing I will have two banners in the gym forever. It is good to know that all of Coach Zaccari's efforts for the team did not go to waste. Raising a trophy will never get old."

AW: How confident were you heading into this year?

LL: "At the start of the season, I was a little uncertain. I knew we were going to have some more competition this year because of the schools coming down from 2A, like Breese (Mater Dei) and others. I wasn't sure we would have a set varsity lineup and I thought it would be very diverse throughout the season. For my game, I had been playing really well in my summer tournaments and knew I had the talent to win any given tournament."

Contact EDN Sports Editor Alex Wallner at 618-510-9231 or alex.wallner@effinghamdailynews.com.