By BRETT MARSHALL
The Garden City High School boys golf team struggled on Friday at the prestigious Hutchinson Invitatonal, generally regarded as the biggest and one of the toughest high school tournaments in Kansas.
The Buffaloes shot a total of 348 to finish tied for 23rd in the field of 34 teams. A total of 183 players competed at Carey Park Golf Course's par-71 layout.
Jacob Law provided the one lone bright spot for the Buffs by shooting an 80, a round which included a final nine of 38 strokes.
"Jacob had a decent score and I'm really proud of him for hanging in there after a rough start," GCHS first-year coach Walker Frey said. "Four of our five players improved their score on the final nine, so that's the encouraging thing. We just need to get better at the start."
Austin Swender, the team's No. 1 player, struggled, shooting an 84. Those were the only two Buffs' players to break 90. Mitch Moore and Parker Tanner each had 92s while Tucker Schiffelbein had a 93. Only five players competed for each team at the Hutch meet as opposed to six at most tournaments.
"Austin struggled coming in," Frey said of Swender, who was 7-over-par on his final seven holes. "We've got to get him where he's putting well. He's hitting the ball well. We need to get those third and fourth players to get into the mid 80s to have a chance to get our team scores down to where we're more competitive."
Western Athletic Conference foes Dodge City finished third at 300, Hays was tied for 14th at 332 while Great Bend was tied for 27th at 355 and Liberal was 32nd at 373. Individual medalist honors went to Zach Kirby of Dodge City, who fired a 1-under-par 70.
It will be a busy upcoming week for the Buffs' golfers. On Monday, they travel to Great Bend and then they are at Dodge City on Tuesday in a rescheduled tournament. Thursday, the team heads to the Goddard Invitational which will be played at the Tex Consolver Golf Course on the west side of Wichita.
The Lady Buffs softball game at Dodge City was postponed to Tuesday due to heavy rain that soaked the playing field in Dodge City.
The Western Athletic Conference doubleheader will start at 4 p.m. as the Lady Buffs will take a 9-1 season record and 3-1 mark in the WAC into the contest with the rival Lady Demons.
Track and Field
A long trip to Hutchinson with nothing to show for it only made Friday more frustrating for the GCHS track and field teams.
Inclement weather that included rain and lightning prevented meet officials from getting the event started, and it was shortly thereafter cancelled. No reschedule date was set.
The track teams will have to wait until Tuesday to get back into competition, as the Buffs will host the Garden City Invitational at Buffalo Stadium, with the meet beginning at 1 p.m. The competition also will include junior varsity teams.
Teams expected to compete include Great Bend, Larned, Dodge City, Liberal, Ulysses, Holcomb, Scott City, and Lamar, Colo.