By BRETT MARSHALL
It seems as though when a high school golf tournament is contested at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course in Garden City, Mother Nature shows up in force.
There have been colder days at the Dunes and there have been windier days, too, than Monday when it hosted the Sublette Invitational.
But, as usual, the Dunes came away as the clear winner, limiting the 97-player field to just one score under 80, that being Kinsley's Weston Coss' 79.
Cimarron prevailed in the team chase among the 16 schools that fielded the necessary four-man rosters to compete. The Bluejays compiled a 344 to edge Ulysses by two strokes at 346. Syracuse was third at 353, while Meade and Ness City rounded out the top five at 360 and 361.
Individually, Corey McCann won a three-way playoff for second, defeating AJ Govert on the second hole after Lakin's Wyatt Burnett was eliminated on the opening hole after all had shot 8-over-par 80s.
For Cimarron coach Lance Walker, the team title was the first at what is annually one of the biggest regular-season tournaments in the area.
"They should be proud of this one," an elated Walker said afterward. "It's a big tournament, the conditions weren't great, and I'm just really proud of them."
The Bluejays accomplished the team title with two players finishing among the top 15 individuals, as Mitch Chalkley shot an 82 and Charlie Pfeifer was right behind with an 83. Those were good for sixth and 10th places.
"Mitch wasn't too pleased with his round," Walker said of Chalkley, who had taken medalist honors 10 days earlier at the Lakin Invitational. "It was a tough day, but it seems like it's that way most of the time when we play here."
When the tournament teed off at 9:30 a.m., the temperature was 45 degrees and the wind was blowing between 15 and 20 mph from the east. The temperature never reached 60 degrees by the end of the event around 4 p.m.
"The temperature was tough early and the wind always makes the course play tough," Walker said.
For Govert and Burnett, the high finishes were positives as they begin the stretch of competition that will culminate in a month at the regional and state tournaments.
"I played really well my first nine holes," said Govert, who was at 1-over-par 37 as he made the turn to the back nine. "I started off with a double on No. 10 and I just didn't play as well. I could've done better, but it felt like the wind was always switching directions. My putting was better than it has been."
Govert said the third-place finish will go a long way to springboard his season.
"Getting third at a big tournament like this is a big boost," Govert said. "I gave it my best shot, especially in the playoff."
Burnett arrived at his 8-over score despite hitting balls into the water on two separate holes.
"It wasn't a bad round, considering the water balls," said Burnett, who managed to have seven, 1-putt greens. "But it certainly wasn't spectacular. This was a big improvement from my earlier rounds. It was cold, windyand I just want to keep trying to get better. I just need to sharpen everything up. It (the game) is there, I just need to get there."
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.