Niles West’s Skylar Le Vine stays in the moment, posts low score

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NORTHBROOK — Skylar Le Vine is in control of both his golf game and his psyche.

The Niles West junior had a career day Monday, shooting a 6-under 66 at the Mundelein Invite at Geneva National in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The score was the lowest among competitors from eight schools and was a personal best for Le Vine.

Though some clutch shots were a factor, the key was keeping a clear head. Le Vine said he never thought about his score or what was ahead on the difficult course he was playing for the first time.

“I was focused the whole time and never got ahead of myself to think about the scores,” he said. “That helped a lot.”

Niles West coach Mitch Stern said that if Le Vine didn’t hit a green, he was not far away from it. He hit solid shots off the tee that regularly landed on fairways. His short game was supreme.

“There wasn’t an aspect of his game that wasn’t on,” Stern said.

Le Vine usually doesn’t record many birdies. Instead, he plays to his strengths and doesn’t have many bad holes. He said that he aims to make pars, and that while he’s bigger than he was last year (he grew four inches to reach 5-7) and can drive the ball further, he keeps himself collected.

“I won’t lose a lot of balls,” Le Vine said. “I’ll usually give myself a good chance to get up and down. That’s just trying to have a controlled swing and a good mind-set and not get too aggressive over each shot.”

Stern said that Le Vine is good with finishing within 100 yards, judging winds and distances and using a variety of shots (high lobs, punch shots and flops) to close out a hole.

“He’s just learned how to control the golf ball,” Stern said. “That’s what separates him from a lot of other high school golfers. When he hits the ball, he knows where it’s going most of the time.”

Le Vine’s precision helped the Wolves win Wednesday’s dual match against Maine West 140-154 at Willow Hill. The match had a scramble format, and he and partner Scott Pechter, a junior, combined to shoot a 32. It was the best score among the eight groups from both schools.

Pechter wasn’t at the Mundelein Invite, but when he heard the news about Le Vine afterward, he said he was excited but not surprised.

“It was kind of unbelievable because it was such a great score,” Pechter said. “But coming from Skylar, I wouldn’t doubt it, because he’s so consistent and so good.”

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