LOUISVILLE — Logan Hogge keeps a headcover crafted to look like a kangaroo on one of the clubs in his golf bag. It's actually his second such piece of protective gear, which he picked up in Myrtle Beach, S.C., last summer to replace a friend's gift in eighth grade that reflected years of wear.
Hogge and his new 'roo hopped to a wire-to-wire, one-stroke victory in the Kentucky State Amateur at Big Spring Country Club on Thursday.
He shot his worst round of the tournament — 2-over-par 74 — but it was good enough to hold off late challengers Denver Haddix Jr. of Lexington, who finished second last year, and Drew Allenspach of Louisville. Those two had day-best scores of 5-under 67 outside of the leaders' group, seemingly applying more pressure on Hogge.
That is, if the Morehead State senior had been aware of the twosome's surge.
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He had "no idea," Hogge said. "I asked my caddy on the way up there, 'Where am I at compared to them,' but he didn't know either. So I was just trying to play my own ball."
The former Bath County star birdied just one of his final nine holes. Two double bogeys — including one on No. 17 — left the door open for a potential playoff.
"It was tough," he said of regrouping for the final hole. "I just wanted to hit a good tee shot. That pin was kind of there on the front left, so it wasn't that bad of a pin. I felt if I could just put it in the fairway then I'd have a good chance of making par."
He did make par, as did group mates Tyler "Chip" McDaniel and J.B. Williams, who finished at even par and 3-over, respectively, for the tournament.
McDaniel, a sophomore at the University of Kentucky, shot birdie on No. 13 to get within one shot of the leader, but he bogeyed two of his final five holes to fall back.
"I was four back (coming into Thursday), so I had to be a little more aggressive than I planned the first two days, hit more drivers," McDaniel said. "And I hit it good. I was hitting fairways, I was hitting greens. I just couldn't get a putt to drop. That's how it goes sometimes."
Hogge confessed that winning the state amateur was harder than he thought, especially with McDaniel on his heels through the back nine.
"I played a really good front nine and just kind of struggled there on the first few holes on the back, and I had to regroup," he said. "Tyler was making a big push on me, and I just felt if I could get one or two birdies coming in then I'd be OK."
Winning the tournament in wire-to-wire fashion brought its own set of challenges.
"Coming into today (my lead) was two shots and the first day it was one shot, so that's just not that big of a lead," he said. "It could just be a two-shot swing on one hole and that's it."
Hogge said his victory boosted his confidence moving forward. He showed that he could play with some of the state's top amateurs and that he's right there with guys he knows "will be playing for money someday."
The Salt Lick native was proud of what winning the State Am meant as an Eastern Kentucky golfer.
"We just gotta show 'em we can play," he said. "Us Eastern Kentucky boys, we don't get a whole lot of respect. There's a lot of good players in Eastern Kentucky ... and I'm just glad that I could bring it home for us."