By BRETT MARSHALL
CIMARRON — It was a year ago that Scott City golfer Justin Unruh slipped into a qualifying spot to advance to the 2012 Class 3A state golf tournament.
Now a senior, Unruh was hoping to have an opportunity to qualify for another trip to state when he teed it up Monday at Cimarron Golf Course for the 3A regional qualifier.
Even Unruh didn't expect the results that came his way after fashioning a 3-over-par 75 to win medalist honors by one shot over Kade Megaffin of TMP-Marian.
He was joined by teammate Marshal Hutchins, whose 83 also sneaked into the qualifying for an individual spot at the state meet, to be played at Spring Creek Golf Course in Seneca, located in northeast Kansas.
But those two couldn't carry the Beavers, as they finished fifth in the eight-team field at 374. TMP-Marian and Phillipsburg earned the two team qualifying spots with scores of 332 and 335, while Cimarron, despite getting three players qualified for state, finished third at 340 and Lakin was a distant fourth at 365.
For Unruh, it was a day of playing steady, albeit experiencing one hiccup on his 10th hole of the day with a double bogey 7. However, he was rock solid for much of the round, playing the nines at Cimarron in 36-39.
"I'd say it just was a round that went really good," a smiling Unruh said afterward. "My driver treated me pretty well today, but so did my putting. Like anything in golf, I left a few shots out there. But overall, I played pretty steady."
On his front nine of even-par 36, he had a birdie at the 507-yard, par-5 fifth after making bogey at the 144-yard, par-3 fourth. He then birdied the 338-yard, par-4 eighth and followed it with a bogey at the tough 443-yard, par-4 ninth.
"I really wanted to be under par on the front, but it just didn't happen," Unruh said.
The double bogey on the 10th hole, playing at 534-yards, came when Unruh pushed his second shot into the deep rough after a good tee shot.
"I pulled out a lob wedge, thinned it over the green and then chunked my fourth shot," Unruh recalled. "I had a 10-footer for bogey and didn't quite get that."
But Unruh regrouped and parred the next three holes. On the 11th hole, Unruh had to get it up and down to save par, making a 4-footer, and that he said got his round back on track.
"To be honest, I was worried after the double bogey," Unruh said. "It was a nice par save and that settled me down."
Unruh birdied the 507-yard, par-5 14th, and then had two pars and two bogeys on the incoming four holes for his 3-over 39. It was pretty solid round, especially considering Unruh had never played a competitive round on the course before Monday.
"We came down over the weekend, played a quick nine and I liked it," Unruh said. "It's pretty open, not too many trees. My biggest goal all year was to make state again. Getting medalist here is a huge bonus. My only thought was just to play my best and make it to state. I guess I did a little better than that."
For the host Bluejays, it proved to be a mixed bag of results. Coach Lance Walker said he felt bad that the team couldn't find a way to put together a strong enough score to qualify, but was still happy to be taking three of his players to the state meet.
"We didn't play that badly, but we didn't play as well as we could have, especially at home," Walker said. "I thought Stewart (Fairbank, 84) played good again. Mitch (Chalkley, 80) and Charlie (Pfeifer, 87) had their good moments. Mitch was pretty steady all day, Charlie had a good front nine (39), but struggled on the back (48)."
Lakin's fourth-place finish was paced by state qualifiers Wyatt Burnett and Brent Rooney, both of whom finished with 87s.
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.