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Seth McKeighan tees off

Lincoln High's Steve Seth McKeighan tees off on the seventh during the Lincoln Public Schools Championships at Holmes Golf Course on April 10, 2018.

Seth McKeighan is an example of what hard work can do for your golf score.

Two years ago, he made the Lincoln High School team as a freshman and had an average score of 116 for 18 holes. Dedicated to working on his game, he returned for his sophomore season last spring and sported an average score of 96. Playing in tournaments last summer, he continued to chip away at lowering his average score, this time to an 89.

His personal-best 9- and 18-hole scores occurred at the district tournament last spring. Competing in a field populated by more-experienced golfers, he shot a 40 on the front nine en route to an 18-hole total of 85 at Highlands Golf Course in northwest Lincoln.

“That’s our (Lincoln High’s) home course, so I feel more comfortable out there,” said the Links’ two-year letterman. “Chipping and putting are the strongest areas of my game, so it’s not like the Highlands course plays to my strengths – it’s a little longer than some – but the familiarity with the course is to my advantage.”

‘Great work ethic’

Larry Elwood, head coach of the boys golf team at Lincoln High, says McKeighan’s “great work ethic” is a characteristic that has fueled his steady improvement.

“Seth has several good qualities that have helped him improve,” Coach Elwood shared. “The main attribute would have to be a great work ethic and the drive to improve.

“He hasn’t placed at a tournament yet, but he’s been close,” said Elwood, citing his team leader’s 85 at the district meet. “He did a great job last season.”

Tracing progress

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McKeighan has gained a lot of ground in a relatively short time period. He first touched a club at the age of “eight or nine,” but it wasn’t until his freshman year of high school that golf got his full attention. Two years ago, he emerged from a field of 13 golfers and made the varsity Links squad as a freshman.

Working with his dad, he’s honed his skills in the past 2-3 years and moved up on the depth chart. He’s also benefited from lessons under the tutelage of PGA professional Shane Zywiec at Highlands Golf Course.

Working indoors

The steady onslaught of snow that blanketed the Midwest during the record-setting winter season didn’t hurt McKeighan’s game as much as it might have some golfers. Nine months ago, McKeighan got a customer service job at the SCHEELS sporting goods store in SouthPointe Pavilions, which has given him convenient exposure to the store’s golf simulator.

The offseason practice with the advanced technology has been especially beneficial in his quest to improve his distance game, which he perceives as the biggest roadblock on his path to continued improvement.

“Just trying to get the distance game dialed in is the big goal in getting to the next level,” he said. “I’ll probably need to average scores in the low 80s in order to qualify for state.”

Of course, getting some cooperation from Mother Nature wouldn’t hurt. In a March 6 phone interview, McKeighan said the Links’ opening meet – the Lincoln High Invitational at Highlands – had already been scratched from its scheduled March 21 opener and moved to April 21. Next up was a March 29 dual vs. Grand Island.

McKeighan’s work ethic is also evident in the classroom, where he carries a 3.79 GPA at Lincoln High. His long-range goal is to earn an athletic scholarship and to play at the college level.

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