By BRETT MARSHALL
LAKIN — The Syracuse Lady Bulldogs golf team had been unbeaten amongst Class 3-2-1A schools before Saturday's Lakin Invitational at Louck's Municipal Golf Course.
But that unblemished record got erased by the smallest of margins, as the Goodland Lady Cowgirls squeaked out a 390-391 win over the Lady Bulldogs.
And nobody was more disappointed in that performance than veteran Syracuse coach Rick Mathias who saw his team post its highest total of the season.
"This course is always so different and presents different challenges for all the golfers," Mathias said. "You've got to land the ball short here, and today with the conditions, the ball skipped some and others it just stopped. But the bottom line is we didn't play well."
Goodland got a medalist-performing effort from Jazz Weis, whose 84 was three shots ahead of Sublette's Katelyn Marlin, who shot an 87.
"It was a good day and I think my game is getting better," Marlin said. "On my front nine (46) I was going back and forth, one good hole, one bad hole. On the back nine (41), I had a long string of really good holes."
Marlin, a senior, said early this fall that the tee shots were the strongest part of her game. Now, her putting seems to be the strength.
"Putting really saved me on some holes today," Marlin said. "Especially on the front nine. I always like coming here. I think I broke 90 here last year, too."
For Syracuse, though, Mathias was trying to assess the first setback of the season other than a fourth-place finish at the Garden City Invitational in September where it lost to 6A power Garden City and 5A power Hays.
"This is pretty disappointing considering how much progress we had been making," Mathias said. "Today, we just never stepped up and never figured (the course) out."
Syracuse did manage to put four golfers into the top-10, but the lowest score of that group came from Stephanie Geven's 96, good for fourth. The problem came in Goodland's Jazz Weis firing an 84 to win by three shots over Marlin.
"We gave up 12 shots from their No. 1 to our No. 1 score," Mathias said. "We had a lot of shots that were costly and they were just mental mistakes. I know they're disappointed, I'm disappointed and this better be a wakeup call that you can't take anything for granted. We did not play well, but give credit to Goodland. They played just well enough, and they had the one really good score. And that was the difference."
For Marlin, she is looking at a return trip to the state 3-2-1A state meet in Emporia after a fourth-place finish a year ago, where she finished behind Weis.
"I'm really looking forward to regionals (Oct. 10 at Syracuse)," Marlin said. "I'm definitely playing as good as I'd like, there are things I can still do a lot better, but I think, like last year, my best golf is at the end of the season."
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