DGW congratulates Quincy, Illinois native and University of Illinois golfing standout, Luke Guthrie, on his T 19 finish in his professional debut at the Fed Ex St. Jude Classic. Those of us who watched Luke grow up and have followed his career with interest are not surprised that his entry into the ranks of big time play-for-pay professional golf began with such a stellar performance, as we’ve witnessed him elevate his game at each successive level of development. From the time he was a young junior only just then beginning to wax the older guys at Westview Golf Course, through to the end of an illustrious college career, he excelled. And it’s been fun watching.
The talent level in big time amateur and Division I Golf and the nature of limited media attention paid to but a few individuals is such that, unless you’re from Luke’s hometown, or an avid follower of college golf–or maybe an agent, or a manufacturers’ Tour representative–you’ve probably never heard of this kid from Quincy, Illinois. So you might be wondering, “Just who is Luke Guthrie and why should we care?” Well we will try to answer both parts of that query.
Let us introduce you to Luke by offering just some of his college credentials. We’d talk more about his amazing junior and high school career, but there’s not enough space. We’ll simply say this: as a junior, Luke represented the United States on a Junior Ryder Cup team; and his obscenely low scoring average for high school was cumulatively so far under par through four years of varsity competition that we think it’ s safe to say no one in his hometown will ever get near breaking it. He won two Illinois State High School Championships and an Illinois State Amateur. And that was just the beginning.
For the sake of brevity, we offer this bulleted list of some of Luke’s college highlights:
- Won 7 tournaments in his college career, including back-to-back Big Ten Championships
- 2011 first team all America
- 2012 Big Ten Player of the Year
- 2012 Big Ten Scoring Average Leader
- Played on 4 consecutive Big Ten Championship Teams
- Ranked 11th in the Nation among Division I players
- #16 in US Amateur rankings
- #37 in World Amateur rankings
- Played Number 1 for Illinois in his Junior and Senior Years.
And if that very partial list of accomplishments is not enough to impress you, then know that the number 2 player for the Fighting Illini this year, Thomas Pieters, who played behind Luke– who’s scoring average was not as good–who did not win as many tournaments–just beat the very best college golfers in the land to win the NCAA Championship. In case you need further elucidation—the guy not as accomplished as Luke, just won the NCAA—ergo Luke is very, very, very good.
That’s just a few of the highlights, and some of the reasons why you should know that this kid can play. Here’s why you should care. Luke won the 2012 Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor given to just one athlete at each Big Ten School each year who demonstrates proficiency in scholarship and athletics. It is the top athletic honor bestowed at the University. In addition, Luke was awarded the Sportsmanship Award by his teammates. Big deal you say? Well, in our experience, they don’t give that type of award to jerks. They give it to the guy who exhibits, well, sportsmanship.
If you’ve been around junior and/or amateur golf, then you’ve been witness to arrogance and shamefully spoiled behavior on the part of both players and parents that would be embarrassing were it not so sad. And in an age where too often we celebrate bad behavior, it’s pretty cool to be able to root for someone who exhibits the very best. Having known Luke and his family since he was about 10 years old, we know that he gets this model citizenship directly from his parents, Dennis and Cindy, who have been there with him, and older brother Zach, literally, every step of the way. Anyone at all observant knows they’ve done well in raising their kids. Likewise, Luke has been blessed with a teacher in Mark Christensen of the Christensen Golf Academy right here in Quincy, Illinois who has shared with Luke from the time he was a little boy both his knowledge of the swing and, perhaps more importantly, the sheer joy of golf.
When you’re looking for someone to root for at the John Deere Classic, Luke’s next Professional start, you could do much worse than this young man from Quincy, Illinois.
So, to Luke and the Guthrie family, we at DGW say, well done and good luck. We will be rooting for you.