Hudson Keener’s senior season of golf at LaGrange College just keeps getting better.
In a little more than a month, the former Northwest Whitfield High standout has won three tournament titles, claimed his second Georgia Cup Division III Player of the Year award in three seasons and earned a spot in the prestigious Dogwood Invitational in Atlanta.
Keener made all of that possible with his victory Tuesday at the Emory Invitational at Druid Hills Golf Club, the annual site of the Dogwood Invitational, which is set for June 25-30 this year. That tournament is known as one of the nation’s best amateur events.
Keener shot 4-under-par 68 in both rounds of the two-day Emory Invitational and topped Transylvania University’s Justin Tereshko by two strokes. Tied with Tereshko with three holes left, Keener went birdie-par-birdie to win the tourney.
LaGrange finished fifth — 11 shots off the winning team, Methodist University — despite the fact that Keener was the Panthers’ only player among the top 30 individuals. His victory in Atlanta followed up a win earlier this month at the Reeder Cup in Lookout Mountain and last month at the Rome News-Tribune Invitational.
“I’m just hitting the ball really well and just playing my game,” Keener said in a phone interview with The Daily Citizen on Wednesday.
“I’ve been putting a little better lately. I’ve been working really hard on that, and it’s been a big difference in winning and not winning for me. I’d been struggling with the putter for the past year or so, but that’s something I’ve been trying to improve the last two months and it’s really paid off.”
Keener also clinched the Georgia Cup Division III Player of the Year award as the state’s top performer in the season-long competition. He also won that title as a sophomore and earned all-state honors in the competition last season.
“It was great to win that again,” Keener said. “... I had a good feeling and I knew I had a chance the last day, if I played well, to win that. But that wasn’t really what was going through my mind. I wasn’t thinking about that much. I was trying to win the tournament.”
A two-time Division III All-American, Keener will lead the Panthers into the Great South Atlantic Conference tournament on April 23-24 in Montgomery, Ala. Last season, Keener won the tournament and was the GSAC Player of the Year.