By BRETT MARSHALL
And the beat goes on.
Garden City High School's girls golf team won their own Lady Buffs Invitational on Monday at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.
And they won easily.
They won it with their top three players once again going 1-2-3 in the individual standings.
This time, it was sophomore Abbi Shaddix' stellar 1-under-par 71 that paved the way for the Lady Buffs' team total of 315, four shots shy of the school record they set last year. Shaddix' 71 established a new school record for an 18-hole tournament and is the first under-par round for 18 holes in GCHS program history.
Her 1-under-par eclipsed by one shot what Thayer, who finished second with an even-par 72 on Monday, had set last year on two occasions (Wichita and Hutchinson).
Following Shaddix and Thayer was junior Abbey Campbell with a 77. Senior Anna Robinson and junior Audrey Gerber each shot 95, with one of those scores counting in the team total. Megan Steward rounded out the varsity scores with a 100.
For Shaddix, it was her second individual title of the year and her first competing in an 18-hole tournament. It was also the first time she had broken 80 in an 18-hole competitive round.
"It's an awesome feeling since I never shot in the 70s before," Shaddix said. "I started on the 18th hole and I drove it up toward the green. I hit a bad chip and still had 50 feet. I was in the fringe, I made it and that really got me going."
Shaddix said another turning point for her came on the par-3 fourth hole where she hit her tee shot five yards over the green. She knocked her pitch shot into the hole for another birdie.
"That helped and it helped relax me," Shaddix said. "I just tried to let the game come to me. At the first of the season I think I was just pressing too hard."
She added a birdie at the par-5 first, and then two-putted from the fringe for birdie on the short, par-5, 13th. She had a bogey on the par-5, fifth, and a double bogey at the par-4, sixth.
Thayer said she salvaged her even-par round despite not being crisp with her ball-striking during the round. Several par-saving putts helped her stay in the hunt for the top spot but a bogey on her 17th hole cost her a chance at tying her teammate.
"The scores are good and Abbi's score is a great accomplishment," Thayer said. "For me, not having my 'A' game completely and still being able to shoot 72 is a huge step up from last year. I probably would have shot in the high 70s a year ago with the way I played, so I'm happy I kept the round together."
The team totals were nearly identical from the front nine (157) to the back nine (158), so coach Lloyd Tiffany had little to worry about in the 12-team tournament.
"That's impressive, but they've been impressive all season," Tiffany said. "We're excited to be heading east next week and see how we'll fare against the good teams back there. (Shaddix and Campbell) have played consistent all season and Mackenzie has improved her game as well. I think when we got some of those under par scores earlier (at 9-hole tournaments) that it just changed the mindset of the girls and they now believe they can shoot those kind of scores."
The Lady Buffs will play twice during a four-day trip next week, with the first tournament coming on Monday at Blue Hills Country Club in the Mo-Kan Championship. It will bring together many of the Kansas City metropolitan area's top private and public schools from both Kansas and Missouri.
On Sept. 22, they will play at the Lawrence Invitational at Alvamar Country Club. In between they get an opportunity to play a practice round at Shadow Glen Golf Club in Olathe, site of the Oct. 17 state 6A tournament.
"This is a great opportunity for the girls to see where they're at compared to the teams in the east," Tiffany said. "This will really help us come October."
The Syracuse Lady Bulldogs finished fourth in the team standings despite being the smallest (2A) school in the field.
Senior Madison Brown shot an 85 to tie for fifth medalist and help her team shoot a 383.
"The girls have played pretty well so far this season," said Syracuse coach Rick Mathias. "This is great competition for our girls to see how we do against the caliber of teams that was here. It will be the best we see all season."
See results in Scoreboard, Page B2.