Feb. 26, 2014
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – If Logan Lagodich just picks up where he left off in the fall portion of Marshall’s 2013-13 golf season, fine by him.
Ditto, said second-year Thundering Herd men’s Coach Matt Grobe.
Lagodich won the individual title in Marshall’s last event before a long winter, in the ODU/OBX Collegiate on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. He was the third Herd individual tournament titlist of the fall season (joining Brian Anania and Clark Robinson), when MU won two events in a row and nearly a third team title.
Lagodich, a sophomore from Canton, Ohio, was a consistent performer for Grobe’s team. In the last four events of the fall, he finished in ties for third and eighth, then placed seventh before winning the ODU title. He was a combined 5-under-par in those four tournaments.
“It was very exciting,” Lagodich said when asked about the fall portion of the season, when MU won its first team title since 2000. “Marshall golf has been looking to break into the win column, so to come out and win not just one, but two events in a row and have a third slip by us was big. We had some individual success, too.
“It was big for the program and more than anything showed we’re moving in the right direction with Matt Grobe coming in. I think it’s big because it shows we’re heading in the right direction.”
Lagodich will be on the Herd’s five-man team when it opens the spring season Monday and Tuesday in a 14-team field at the 54-hole Davidson (N.C.) College Invitational. The competition includes two top 50-ranked teams in this week’s No. 24 (Golfstat.com) Kent State and No. 48 Tennessee. Host Davidson is No. 100.
Grobe’s team – ranked No. 136 nationally -- includes Lagodich, seniors Anania and Jeremy Rogers
and freshmen Will Evans
and Robinson. Herd junior Tas Sipowski
will compete at Davidson as an individual.
The Davidson event is the first of five spring tournaments on the Herd schedule, including the April 14-15 inaugural Greenbrier Invitational – co-hosted by Marshall at the famed White Sulphur Springs resort – and the April 28-30 Conference USA Championships in Texarkana, Ark.
As a freshman, Lagodich’s best finish was his last – 14th in the 2013 C-USA Championships. His freshman average score was 77.5, but improved to 71.9 in 15 rounds last fall. Nine of his 15 rounds were at even or under par.
“I wouldn’t go so far as to put Logan’s improvement just in the fall,” Grobe said. “You can probably start in his sophomore year in high school, where he’s put himself on a path that’s very impressive not only on, but off the golf course, too.
“He’s got a vision, a plan, and it goes to fitness, goes to nutrition, his short game, his golf swing, and when you see the progression, you can see he’s dedicated himself to his game and he’s gotten better every year.
“From his sophomore year (at Canton Central Catholic High) to his junior year, a huge leap; from junior to senior, huge leap. He got on campus last year as a freshman, and he just didn’t look like someone who maybe would play very much -- and by the spring, he’s one of our top three players. He comes back in the fall as a sophomore and he’s even better than he was in spring. Watching him improve, day-to-day, week-to-week, it just shows the work paying off.”
Lagodich, 19, called his freshman year “just a really good learning experience. I learned a lot about myself, my own game. And I took a lot of those principles into the next year.”
Grobe said Lagodich’s practice style has helped the sophomore, as did the 2013 U.S. Open local qualifier at Edgewood Country Club in Kanawha County, where the Ohioan lost in a playoff for a sectional berth.
The next time Lagodich was in a playoff, he won that OBX title.
“Logan’s one of those kids who just doesn’t have a weakness,” Grobe said. “Every part of his game is pretty good. I don’t think I could ever tell him I want you to focus on this or that, because he’s drilling down on everything – that’s how he’s improving so much.
“Some guys will go to the driving range and they’ll practice for a half-hour, then go to the putting green and so on. Logan has kind of a systematic way he goes about it where he’ll go hit five drives, then he’ll hit five chips, then hit five putts. Then, it’s back to the range to repeat the cycle. It’s really neat thing to watch because he just wants to make sure he’s well-rounded.
“He’ll hit a couple of bunker shots, then a couple lob shots, then a couple putts, couple drives, so it’s almost like he’s in body confusion when he’s practicing because he’ll spend two hours, and hit every type of shot you can imagine -- but between hitting other shots.”
Lagodich said he varies his routine, and that sometimes he does his 40 7-irons in a row, but he’s “borrowed” his practice concept from a 10-time winner on the PGA Tour.
“I think it’s good because it sort of simulates how you really play on the course,” Lagodich said when asked to discuss his practice regimen. “I mess around with a lot of things, different routines, do something a couple hours.
“I like to mess around with a couple routines, and I added a lot of variety, probably in the last year. It’s hard to say how much it helped, but I heard Adam Scott … they were talking (on TV) about his new routine, how he does 10 minutes, 10 minutes, 10 minutes, on chip, drive, putt, and so I thought about that and started making my own tweaks to it.”
Lagodich is confident in his game. After he shot a 7-over 79 at Guyan Country club in the second round of the season-opening Joe Feaganes Marshall Invitational last September, he “didn’t change things. I just started playing better. I knew I was on the right track.”
Grobe said the ODU/OBX title by Lagodich remains a springboard for the Herd over a long, cold winter, into the spring portion of the season.
“He was in that Open local qualifier last spring, and made the playoff to move on,” Grobe said. “Six months later we’re at Old Dominion, and he’s back in a playoff so I think the experience from the Open playoff helped in the next playoff.
He’s in there with two other guys (Jamison Randall of ODU and Rocky Khara of VCU), and Logan just kept his focus, hit a great drive, a great (pitching wedge) shot, and it was great for our team, too. All the teams were out there watching and our guys are out there rooting for Logan.
“I think it gave us a good feeling getting in the van and coming home for the winter (break). I think we’re looking for a really good spring out of the team and for Logan.”
The Herd sophomore didn’t disagree.
“It definitely made me more excited (to win a college tournament title and in a playoff), and now that I know I can do it, there are five more chances this season,” Lagodich said. “It definitely helped me the next time, being in the (Open qualifier) playoff. Anytime you can get experience in the game, it’s going to help you 100 percent of the time the next time you’re in that situation.
“I just want to go out this spring in every tournament and focus on one shot at a time. If I can do that, I should get pretty good results. I played pretty consistent golf the last four tournaments of the fall.”