To help illustrate Charlie Magruder’s maturation during his high school career, Faith Lutheran boys golf coach Mark Cheney pulled out a story from three years ago.
Magruder, then a freshman, got off to a hot start during a round in Pahrump and, feeling sure of himself, asked Cheney what was the course record.
“The rest of the round wasn’t so great,” Cheney said, “and so that’s kind of a running joke now.”
Magruder has grown from an exuberant freshman into a steady senior and will lead the Crusaders on Monday when the Class 4A Sunset Region tournament tees off at 10:30 a.m. at Siena Golf Club.
The Sunrise Region tournament begins at noon Tuesday at Reflection Bay Golf Club. The top two teams and the top five individuals from nonqualifying teams advance to the Class 4A state tournament, which takes place May 15 and 16 at Toiyabe Golf Club in Washoe Valley.
“I’d say the biggest thing I’ve matured in is definitely knowing how to handle myself,” Magruder said. “I’ve redefined success to, ‘OK, even though I didn’t post a great number today, I still did everything I wanted to do.’ I would have defined success a couple years ago as winning and just kind of going off a result.”
Magruder won the Division I-A (now Class 3A) state title as a freshman and swept the I-A Southern Region and state titles last season.
He struggled early this season after an equipment change but recently was fitted for new clubs and shot even-par 72 at Paiute in the final Northwest League match last week.
“I wasn’t really confident with the golf clubs beforehand, so I was just trying to guide it into play,” Magruder said. “Now, I know it’s going to go where I want it to go. I actually have confidence standing over the ball now.”
Magruder, who signed a letter of intent with Gonzaga, is part of a strong field for the one-day tournament.
Palo Verde’s Cameron Meeks is the defending region champion, while Jack Trent of Palo Verde, a UNLV signee, is the two-time defending state champion.
Magruder also has a bit of a score to settle with Siena after shooting 79 there in the final round of the Southern Region tournament last year.
“I am very confident going in because I know my game is where I want it to be,” Magruder said. “I know that if I stick to my routine and not get ahead of myself, I should play pretty well.”
Faith Lutheran dominated at the Class 3A level the past three years but is not a shoo-in to qualify for state this season. The Crusaders are expected to battle defending champion Palo Verde and Bishop Gorman to avoid being the odd team out.
Gorman shot a season-best 363 as a team last Tuesday at Siena in a Southwest League match, the lowest score of any team in the region this season.
“I don’t believe we’ve played our best golf yet,” Cheney said. “I know that we’re capable of better scores than we’ve shot this season, so I’m looking forward to seeing that happen.”