The average golfer would look at scores of 69 and 72 on the weekend and drop to his knees to praise the golf gods, but John Pechan is not your average player.

The Lawrence University freshman has quickly established himself as one of the Midwest Conference’s best golfers and really wasn’t pleased with his third-place finish at Ripon College Invitational on the Links Course at Lawsonia last weekend.

“I want to say I (played well) but I didn’t,” Pechan said. “I’m still not at the level I feel like I should be, but I’m progressing.”

If you think Pechan is being hard on himself, you’re right, but that’s only because he has some lofty aspirations for the remainder of the season.

“Winning the Midwest Conference is my biggest goal for the spring,” said Pechan, a native of the Seattle area. “That way I can get to nationals and take it from there.”

Pechan would like to join recent Lawrence players Jeff Henderson (2002) and All-American and Appleton native Joe Loehnis (2003) as individual conference champions.

Pechan also wants a trip to the NCAA Division III Championships, which has never happened for a Lawrence player. The last Lawrence golfers to play in the NCAA Championships were local legend Don Strutz, Carl Laumann and Dick Flicker, but that was back in 1949, well before the advent of Division III.

“John is such a great competitor,” Lawrence coach Kalle Larsson said. “You would want every Lawrence athlete to have that sort of competitive nature. His play on the course is a direct result of his work ethic and desire to be the best.”

Pechan’s achievements thus far this year are impressive. He won two of three events he played during the fall season, posting victories at the Ripon Fall Invitational at Mascoutin Golf Club and the Wisconsin Lutheran Invitational at Washington County Golf Course.

Pechan carded a Lawrence record score of 64 on the second day of the Wisconsin Lutheran Invitational, and it is believed that is the lowest score posted by a Division III player this season.

A good spring season, possibly coupled with a win at the MWC Championships, could mean a trip to the NCAAs. Before that happens, Pechan knows there is work to be done. He admits his strong suits are his accuracy and length off the tee, but he continues to work hard on his putting.

“I’m putting a lot of five-foot to 10-foot putts and being positive over the ball. If you don’t have confidence, you are not going to make the putt,” Pechan said. “That’s kind of what happened this weekend. Those are the times I do win tournaments, when my putting is on and I’m stroking it from that range.”

Friends of Jaclyn Day

The Lawrence softball team will take part in a Friends of Jaclyn Day when they play at the University of Chicago on Saturday.

The Vikings have “adopted” Emma Broeniman, a grade-schooler from Appleton who has a NF-1, a genetic disorder that causes brain tumors. Friends of Jaclyn is the organization that facilitated the relationship between Emma and the Vikings.

The University of Chicago also has adopted a child through Friends of Jaclyn, and the teams will raise some funds for the organization on Saturday. The teams played in 2010 in Appleton and had a Friends of Jaclyn Day at Whiting Field.

Taking on the big boys

The Lawrence baseball team faces its stiffest challenge of the season when it travels to Division I Butler University this weekend.

The Vikings are scheduled to play three games this weekend at Butler. It is the first meeting between the schools, and the first time Lawrence has played a NCAA Division I opponent since sweeping a doubleheader from Wisconsin in 1981.

Editor’s Note: Inside LU Athletics is a weekly notes package written by Lawrence University Sports Information Director Joe Vanden Acker. It will feature teams and individual players, recap weekly awards or highlights and take a look at what’s ahead for the Vikings.