By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
McAuley Catholic coach Brenden Gubera indicated he wouldn’t be surprised by any lofty success achieved by senior Connor Schlegel.
Said Gubera: “Connor loves golf. He’ll be successful because he wants it. He has the right mental approach. He has gumption and ability. He’s given the work and effort to improve.”
Schlegel signed a letter of intent with Rogers State University of Claremore (Okla.) on Friday.
“He’s going to a good place with a good coach (Lynn Blevins),” Gubera said, “Rogers State is close to home (a few miles east of Tulsa). It’s a good fit for Connor.”
Schlegel, a Class 1 all-stater last season, attended Joplin High School two years — playing for Jack Pace — before joining Gubera’s Warriors.
Schlegel, who also played basketball, said he didn’t start concentrating on golf until high school.
“This (earning a scholarship) is a big accomplishment for me,” Schlegel said. “I’ve always dreamed of playing at the collegiate level.”
NAIA Rogers State belongs to the Sooner Athletic Conference and its recent third place in the SAC Tournament at Ardmore (Okla.) at Dornick Hills Country Club netted a final No. 20 ranking this year by the NAIA Men’s Golf Coaches’ Top 25.
“Coach Blevins saw me play a couple of times in summer tournaments,” Schlegel said.
Schlegel hopes to work three or four days a week this summer at Twin Hills in Joplin to earn playing time.
“Goals this summer also include playing in Missouri Golf Association events and some tournaments in Oklahoma — as many as possible — to prepare for next year,” Schlegel said.
Schlegel helped the Warriors win a district crown last week and sectional competition is scheduled at Schifferdecker on Monday.
His teammates, who attended the signing, include classmates Zach Crossland, Chase Damer and Martin Graham; junior Chris Taylor and sophomores Andrew Castillo and Hagen Vogel.
Schlegel said the Hillcats play on three courses — Heritage Hills Golf Club near campus, Cherokee Hills Golf Club at nearby Catoosa and Scissortail Golf Club some eight miles away from campus at Verdigris.
Connor, the son of Kim (formerly Cutrer) and Phil Schlegel, plans to major on business.
Basketball was 6-foot-6 Phil’s game. He graduated from Joplin Parkwood in 1981 — the Bears his senior season shared the Ozark Conference crown for Bill Gatlin — and played a year at Oral Roberts for Ken Hayes and three at Missouri State for Charlie Spoonhour.
Phil is a member of the Joplin Area Sports Hall of Fame and the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Dad and son naturally hit the links together at times.
“He has to work hard to keep it close,” Connor said with a smile. “He’s getting frustrated.”