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Wagner transfers to golf academy

Alex Wagner golfs in South Carolina, where he now attends the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy.

In order to excel, many athletes give up some part of their lives - entertainment, social outings or chocolate cake, to name a few. One former Hastings High School student decided to fly halfway across the country to attend a school that integrated his sport and education.

Alex Wagner, 17, is a junior at the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head Island, S.C. He started there in January.

Wagner decided to transfer schools to better his chances at getting into a college golf program.

"I wanted to be a better golfer and I wanted to golf in college," he said.

Instead of attending classes most of the day and practicing for just a couple hours, Wagner attends classes in the morning and spends the whole afternoon on the course.

He's held to a high standard.

"They expect a lot," Wagner said of his instructors. "They're dedicated to getting their students to the level they should play at."

As a sophomore in Hastings, Wagner qualified for the second round of the section golf tournament with a score of 79 on the first day.

Wagner shot his best competitive score of 74 at an IJGA tournament April 23-25. The score put him in seventh place out of 40 golfers from across the country. His personal best is a 72 on 18 holes.

"It could be better," he said.

Wagner doesn't expect to make a career out of golf. For now, he just wants to make sure he can play in college, even though he has no idea which college he wants to attend, he said.

"I just want to play college golf and then see what happens after that," he said.

Being so far away from home was difficult at first, but the new routine helped him adjust, Wagner said.

"I was a little homesick the first couple weeks," he said.