State runner-up Lilly looks to repeat success

As high school conference golf season gets ready to kick off next week, one golfer has his sights set on the 2A State Tournament.

Thomas Lilly, who finished as a runner-up in the tournament last season as a freshman, will try to better that performance this season.

Last year’s finish was the culmination so far of Lilly’s 12-year competitive golfing career.

“I have been playing golf for a long time and have been working on it a lot,” Lilly said. “Our coach told us at states to take one shot at a time and don’t think too far ahead. I guess my finish wasn’t expected, but I knew I had the skills to do it.”

Lilly has spent time out of the high school season fine-tuning his skills and believes there are a few that will carry him through a successful sophomore season.

“I try to keep my swing,” Lilly said. “I don’t like it to get too out of whack. I work on putting and my short game. It is what can save you even if you aren’t hitting the ball good.

“I play my irons pretty well. I really have good skill trying to get out of trouble. I am good at visualizing shots. Sometimes, I can’t always pull them off, but I go for them anyways,” Lilly said.

Despite being one of the better golfers for Maiden, Lilly said his team shares the authority and responsibility.

“I play number one on the team, but I really don’t feel like a leader,” Lilly said. “We are on the same level, maybe not as far as skill, but we respect each other. We don’t look up to each other. Some of the younger freshman may look up to me, but we all try to just be friends.”

The 2A State Tournament was held at Keith Hills Country Club last year, but moves to Long Leaf this year.

As for season goals, Lilly wants to win the state tournament, but he has bigger team goals that he wants to accomplish first.

“I really want to focus on getting our team there this year, instead of just me,” Lilly said. “I think this year, we will be able to do well. I think the state tournament will be a little more fun with them and I’ll have a better chance if I have my teammates there supporting me.”