By BRETT MARSHALL
When Dodge City Community College golf coach Casey Malek put together the inaugural Western Kansas College Invitational, he had in mind to have as many of the top 10 junior college teams in the country participating at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.
The only thing he didn't anticipate was a schedule conflict with two of the top areas in the country's conference tournaments — New Mexico and Texas.
"We'll rearrange the schedule for the next time and I believe we'll eventually get the teams we hoped for," Malek said Monday as the first day scheduled 36 holes was interrupted by rain and windy conditions at about 5:30 p.m., 27 holes were completed.
Malek said the team's will return to the Dunes early today for the remaining 27 holes.
With only 18 holes officially posted, Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College was the leader at 317 while Hutchinson Community College was second at 323. Johnson County third at 332, Dodge City fourth with 335 and Kansas City Community College fifth at 341. All five placed in the Top 20 in spring's NJCAA national championship.
The weather was the big winner in Monday's opening round.
The temperature was in the mid 60s when the tournament teed off around 9 a.m. with the wind blowing from the north at about 12 miles per hour. By the time the rain started late in the afternoon, the temperature had dropped to the mid 50s and the wind was blowing right at 30 miles per hour. The inclement conditions wreaked havoc with the scores.
Kurt Slattery of Indian Hills led the opening 18 holes with a 74.
"There are a bunch of really outstanding players, but the conditions just made it really tough," said Malek, who has been the Conquistadors coach for 20 years. "I don't remember conditions being this bad for quite some time."
Trevor Johnson of Johnson County followed Slattery with a 75 while Dale Middleton of Hutchinson finished with a 77.
Dodge City was led by Brett Patterson's 80 and Chien Han Tan with an 81, while Sam Marlin from Sublette and Trent Specht (Southwestern Heights) struggled for Malek with 91 and 90.
"We've just got to come back and forget about what happened today and start all over," Malek said. "It's all a learning process for them."
Notes: Malek said Dodge City and the Jayhawk Conference are interested in having the NJCAA National Championship played at Buffalo Dunes. The bid process is extensive and according to Malek, "the Dunes is as good as any course we play all year." Malek said one of the scheduling concepts of the Kansas Jayhawk Conference is that no tournaments are held on "home" courses but rather at neutral sites.
1. Indian Hills, Iowa, 317; 2. Hutchinson, 323; 3. Johnson County, 332; 4. Dodge City, 335; 5. Kansas City, 341.
1. Kurt Slattery, Indian Hills, 74; 2. Trevor Johnson, Johnson Co., 75; 3. Dale Middleton, Hutchinson, 77; 4. Trace McDuffett, Kansas City, Sam Schulte, Hutchinson, Bryce Rowe, Johnson Co., Dan Dawson, Indian Hills, and Justin Weber, Indian Hills, all 80.
Dodge City Scores
Chien Han Tan 81, Riley Seitz 84, Sam Marlin 91, Brett Patterson 80, Trent Specht 90.
Dale Middleton 77, Ben Lowman 81, Craig Howell 85, Nick Seiler 85, Sam Schulte 80.