Out of all the things Gage Scheer could be doing, practicing on the putting green ranks as one of last things the Cheney senior wants to be doing.
Standing there, making the same stroke over and over has never inspired Scheer.
“I think everyone would rather be out on the range hitting balls instead,” Scheer said. “But I’ve found out this year that when I put my headphones in and listen to music it really does help. If not, then it’s just horribly boring.”
Finding a way around his boredom with putting might be the missing link for Scheer, who will tee off at 10:20 this morning at Dub’s Dread for the Class 4A tournament in Kansas City.
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Scheer has a nearly flawless resume — first-ever 4-time champion of the Central Plains League, two-time Regional champion and four first-place finishes on his record this season. But the reason it’s only nearly flawless to him is because a top-10 finish at state has eluded him.
“My putting has definitely improved this season after I actually decided to practice it,” Scheer said. “I’ve seen so much improvement in that area. My putting has saved me so many times and it can get me out of a lot of sticky situations.”
Ultimately, putting comes down to feel. Once Scheer developed repetition, his feel for greens has improved.
“Putting is so much about the rhythm and speed and having a routine and that’s what he does so well,” Cheney coach Tim Hiebert said. “He’ll get on greens for the first time and be able to putt well on them, just because he has such a good feel now.”
The night before the tournament, Hiebert was impressed with how relaxed Scheer was compared to past seasons. It was a case of Scheer feeling like he had to prove himself to others, only to succumb to the amount of pressure he placed on himself.
“Regardless of how he plays on Monday, my mind is already made up on him,” Hiebert said. “Monday is a big test, but he’s already passed the test I’ve set out for him. For him, it’s different though. He wants to do well in a big situation and pull the strings and make it work. I think he wants to make a statement.”
Even with all of his accomplishments, it still bothers Scheer that the only thing missing is a top-10 finish.
“It’s really frustrating to know you’ve played well all year and then you get to the state tournament and you don’t prove yourself like you would like to,” Scheer said. “It’s in the back of my mind still, but it’s not like I’m going to let that mess me up.”
That’s because Scheer has come to terms with his career and accepted it for what it is. He’s been wildly successful and will be able to reflect back on his time at Cheney and be proud.
If he never achieves that coveted top-10 finish, Scheer thinks he will be okay with that. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like his odds for today.
“I think I would be disappointed, but I wouldn’t let it hold me down or anything,” Scheer said. “I’ve done a lot of great things in my career, so I won’t let it rain on my parade if it doesn’t happen. But if I play like I’m capable on Monday, then that whole top-10 thing will take care of itself.”