Gartner, a sophomore, is playing golf because he broke a finger and couldn’t play baseball last season. He shot his best career round, a 69, on April 25 in Pretty Prairie.
How did your broken finger lead to golf?
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“I broke my finger in basketball (as a freshman) and wasn’t even going to do golf, but I couldn’t play baseball with my finger, so I decided to go out for golf.
“It was in basketball practice, and the ball hit it funny. It was a bad break.… It was my left middle finger. I had to get it fused. I don’t have a joint on the end of my finger. It does get in the way a lot — picking up things, it will stick out too far; I’ll jam it in doors. It’s such a little injury, and it causes so many problems.”
Can you tell me about your round at Pretty Prairie, where you shot a 69 for 3-under par?
“I knew just right from the start it was going to be a good day. My swing felt right. I wasn’t really worrying about anything. After the front nine, I was even par. Normally I would have started thinking about it a whole bunch, but I was finally able to stay out of my head and just finish out strong and come back with a 33.
“Actually my driving was terrible. I only hit four fairways that day. I hit 14 greens. I made a few fairly long putts and it was mainly, get on the green in two and two-putt for par and get a few birdie putts to go in.”
Do you replay rounds in your head?
“It depends on how good I do. If it’s a good round, I’ll play it a lot because I want to think about it.… I replay that one in my head about every night before I go to bed. It’s a good feeling.”
I’ve heard golf called a game of failure because winning doesn’t happen every time.
“There’s always something wrong with how you play. It doesn’t matter how good you’re playing, there’s always something wrong. If there’s something wrong with my swing, I’ll go to the driving range and work on it until I have it down or have my coach look at it.”
What do you think you’ll do for a career?
“Something in the car industry, maybe a mechanic. I help my dad out in the shop; he’s an airplane mechanic. He’s taught me a lot of things. It’s pretty handy stuff to know, anything from changing your oil to completely rebuilding an engine.”