26 Jun Jon Cartu Declares BOYS GOLF MVP: Late-season charge lifts Laub
Photo: Scott Marion/The Intelligencer
EDWARDSVILLE – Instead of changing his clubs, Trevor Laub changed his outlook, and it turned around his game and golf season.
After a sluggish start to the 2019 season with the Edwardsville boys golf team, Laub finished strong and was the only EHS qualifier for the Class 3A state tournament at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington.
He is the Intelligencer’s choice for large-school boys golf MVP.
“I was worrying about things I couldn’t control, and I was trying to get colleges to look at me and I was putting too much pressure on every shot,” said Laub, a recent EHS graduate. “Halfway through the year, I just decided that whatever happens, happens, and I stopped worrying.”
Laub capped his prep career at the state tournament on Oct. 18-19 by tying for 44th place with a 36-hole score of 160.
At the Pekin Sectional, held Oct. 14 at Lick Creek Golf Course, Laub earned his ticket to state by shooting a 5-over-par 77. He had the second-best score among individual qualifiers, just behind O’Fallon’s Caden Cannon, who shot a 2-over 74.
At the Collinsville Regional on Oct. 7 at Arlington Greens Golf Course in Granite City, Laub helped EHS win the team championship by shooting a 5-over 77. His score was third on the team behind Nate Frey (72) and Hayden Moore (75).
Laub’s postseason run was no surprise to Edwardsville coach Adam Tyler.
The Intelligencer is celebrating the MVPs of the fall and winter sports seasons with stories throughout June and July. There will be Edwardsville High School MVPs for each sport and small-school MVPs for boys cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, football, girls volleyball, boys basketball, girls basketball and wrestling with Metro-East Lutheran and Father McGivney student-athletes eligible.
Tyler felt it was simply a matter of Laub living up to his potential.
“I think he came into the season expecting to be our No. 1 and he felt some pressure early on,” Tyler said. “Even though his scores weren’t bad, he felt more comfortable later in the season.
“Instead of trying to force the game, he let the game come to him. When he relaxed and was having fun, he was our best player and one of the best players in the area.”
Laub’s late-season charge included a first-place finish at the Normal University High Invitational on Oct. 4 at Weibring Golf Club in Normal, where he shot a 1-under-par 70 and finished second.
“I don’t think I had shot better than 76 in any tournament before that, so that tournament was a really big confidence boost,” said Laub, whose 18-hole average of 79 was best on the team. “That got me going and it carried me all the way through the postseason.”
Physically, Tyler believes that Laub always had the ability to be the Tigers’ No. 1 player.
The ability to hit the golf ball a long way certainly doesn’t hurt.
“We go to tournaments all over the state and you could count on one hand the number of people that could hit a golf ball farther than him,” Tyler said. “His short game is what he will work on at the next level, but as far as just raw talent off the tee, there are very few people who can do it like that.”
As a sophomore in 2017, Laub made his state tournament debut as Edwardsville placed ninth among 12 teams. His two-day score of 171 ranked fourth for EHS.
When he made his return to state as a senior, Laub dropped his 36-hole score by 11 strokes. He still wasn’t satisfied with a 160, but he did improve his second-day score by four strokes.
“The first time I got up there with the team, there was no better feeling,” Laub said. “It was just a blast and it felt like any other tournament.
“When you’re out there by yourself, it almost feels more like a summer tournament. It was nice to have coach Tyler there, but I would rather have the team there than be by myself.”
Other than the mental adjustment, the biggest improvement in Laub’s game may have been his putting.
He had a strong putting effort at the Normal University High Invitational and his confidence grew with each tournament.
“My putting was a problem for me in the first half of the season, but it really helped me in the postseason, especially in the sectional at Lick Creek,” Laub said. “The driver is usually my best club and I’m almost always in the middle of the fairway, but it’s frustrating when you can’t score well because you can’t putt.
“The pin placements on the greens at the sectional were the hardest we had seen all season, but my putting was really good. I had never placed that high in the sectional before, so I went into state with a lot of confidence.”
Shortly after the high school season ended, Laub committed to play next season at Heartland Community College in Bloomington, which is starting a golf program.
Heartland competes in the NJCAA and is a member of the Mid-West Athletic Conference.
“It should be really exciting, and I know almost all of the guys on the team,” Laub said. “We have access to most of the courses in the area and they’re doing a lot for us. It’s a brand-new team, so we all have a chance to make a big impact.”
Laub has not declared a major but is considering construction management.