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BELLEVILLE — For the first time since he was 6 years old, Logan Lowery did not play baseball this summer.

No club, select or little league action. Instead, it was all golf for the O'Fallon High senior.

"I sort of missed it," he said of his baseball-less summer. "But it was time to make a decision and focus on just one thing."

It looks like he made the right choice.

Lowery fired a 2-under-par 34 on Thursday to grab medalist honors in the boys division of the Goalby/Haas Invitational at St. Clair Country Club.

O'Fallon seniors Elizabeth Henken and Briana McMinn tied for the top spot in the girls portion of the nine-hole kickoff tournament with scores of 2-over 38.

Lowery, an infielder who had a .443 on-base percentage for the Panthers in the spring, will continue to play baseball and basketball on the high school level.

But he decided back in June to put the majority of his energy into golf in hopes of landing a college scholarship.

So instead of traveling around playing for an area select baseball team, Lowery entered a whopping seven tournaments in an effort to sharpen his game. He won four of them and turned in several impressive performances, including back-to-back 75s to win the Mid-American Junior Golf Tour's Lick Creek Classic on July 8-9. A week earlier, he carded a 71 to take the Downstate ISJA Qualifier at D.A Weibring Golf Course in Normal.

"It was a great summer," Lowery said. "Got a lot of work in, had some good family time, got to hang out with friends. It was relaxing, but I got a lot done."

Lowery entered the season opener with plenty of momentum. He almost lost that mojo on the very first hole. After a strong effort off the tee, he shanked his second shot and had to battle back just to get a bogey. The early misfire could have spelled doom, especially in a nine-hole tournament.

"A shank like that, it's one of the worst feelings in all of sports," Lowery said.

But he rebounded well, recording a birdie on the second hole to set the stage for one of the best high school rounds of his career.

His mother, Marci, was concerned after the embarrassing flub.

"I knew it wasn't something he does very often," she said. "I just wasn't sure what was going to happen after that."

Lowery promptly went out and birdied the fifth and sixth holes to take control.

He finished one shot ahead of senior Connor Wilson from Althoff. Senior Jack Bruening and junior Avery Irwin, also from Althoff, tied for third with even-par 36s.

The Crusaders rolled to the team title behind a strong all-around effort. They finished with a four-player score of 146, eight shots ahead of O'Fallon. Belleville East (164) was third.

Bruening, who helped Althoff reach the state tournament last season for the ninth time in 11 years, was pleased with the team performance. He believes the Crusaders can make a serious run at the Class 1A state crown.

"I love our team chemistry," Bruening said. "We all want the best for each other. This shows just how good we can be when we're all on our games."

Henken shared medalist honors on the girls side with the best nine-hole score of her career.

She began the day striking the ball well in practice and carried that over into the tournament.

"I was hitting good balls (on the range)," Henken said. "Then, once I got going, everything felt good. I was able to limit my mistakes and I kept calm and stayed comfortable."

Henken sank a 10-foot putt to record her lone birdie of the round.

The one-two punch of Henken and McMinn helped O'Fallon claim the team title in the six-school affair with a score of 159. Columbia (179) was second followed by Belleville East (199) and Belleville West (201).

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