WHEATFIELD — For a time, Kankakee Valley senior golfer Hayden Myers wasn’t sure if he’d finish a 9-hole round.
Early in the year, he had a condition where he would pass out anytime, anywhere, including on the golf course.
“It doesn’t matter what I’m doing,” he said. “I could be sitting in class, I could be sitting at the golf course and just pass out. Nothing I can do about it. Sometimes I can get up and finish the round and other times my body just hurts too bad where I can’t swing my clubs and have to forfeit the match from there.”
Myers had endured as many doctor’s appointments as meets in hopes of nailing down his condition. It’s still a mystery as Myers soldiers on thanks to medication.
“They have some speculations, but they’re not certain at this moment,” Myers said of the spells. “The (doctors) have started me on some medication that has helped quite a bit; made me feel much better and helps keep me on my feet.”
At last Friday’s sectional meet in Logansport, Myers had to work through 18 holes of golf as he looked to finish among the top 10-12 players to qualify for the regional. He showed what his game could look like when healthy, shooting an 82 to become the third individual qualifier for the regional.
He joins Rensselaer Central teammates Zach Hillan (80) and Zach Geleott (82) as the only individual qualifiers.
“I felt great last week,” said Myers, whose condition put him in the No. 3/4 slot in KV’s lineup behind teammates Drew Andree and Caden Adams. “I had a great week of practice. I was really starting to hit the ball well in the practice rounds. I played 36 holes there and Friday I was able to execute and knock down some putts I needed to and I hit the fairway a lot off the tee more than I have been.”
Hitting fairways at Logansport’s Dykeman Golf Course with more consistency and knocking down key putts gave Myers a chance at competing with the top finishers. The 82 represents a career-best finish over 18 holes for the Kougar senior.
“I’ve had some inconsistencies with my putting,” he said. “It hasn’t been where I’ve wanted it to be all season. Last week, I really focused on putting and putting from the fringe because that was very similar to the greens at Dykeman than practicing on Sandy Pines greens. Those were the fastest that we played on. Once I got that down I felt really good. I just had to have a good feeling all day and stay with it. Grind out every hole.”
Myers said his golf game was tested by Dykeman’s layout. Open fairways give way to challenging second and third shots with fast greens waiting at the end.
Though it’s a par-70 course, it does give golfers an opportunity to pick up strokes along the way.
“It’s a little bit challenging to my game,” he said. “Definitely a little bit firmer greens than I’m used to. I feel the strongest part of my game is around the greens and being able to chip onto there and stick some shots close to the hole. It’s a definitely a challenge adjusting to greens that are more firm on the clay soil. I wasn’t able to get some of the shots or the results I wanted to, but once I figured that out, I was able to club down quite a bit and run them up there on the green with a little bit softer of a touch.”
An added bonus to qualifying? Myers now gets to compete on his home course, the Sandy Pines Golf Club in DeMotte, which is the site of the June 10 regional.
Myers still can’t quite grasp the good fortune of playing another week of golf on a course he knows as well as anyone.
“I certainly didn’t think I’d do it,” he said. “You could have asked me two weeks ago and I would have said, ‘No, this (sectional) is my last meet.’ But I’m very happy to playing at Sandy Pines. Beautiful course, great facility. I’ve been lucky it’s our home course and I get to practice on it all the time. Now I get a chance for a trip to state on that home course.”
Myers, who is a couple weeks away from testing for his EMT license with plans to attend a fire academy this summer and work on the Wheatfield Fire Department, said he’s as healthy as he’s felt all season. It comes at a good time as he prepares for the biggest meet of his prep career.
“I feel 100 percent,” he said. “I’m just anxious for Thursday morning to get here and being able to show on a little bit bigger of a stage what we’re capable at KV, what great facilities we have and what I can get done representing our school well.”