By JASON ELMQUIST
The Garden City High School girls golf team landed four of its five golfers within the top 13 to win its home meet Monday at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course for its third team title in as many tournaments this year.
The Lady Buffs finished with a team total of 356, a mere three strokes ahead of second place Dodge City and well ahead of third place finisher Hays who had a team total of 386.
"It was one of those battles that we weren't real sure until the bitter end," GCHS coach Lloyd Tiffany said. "You put three solid scores on top of a 78 and we were able to beat Dodge by three."
Mackenzie Thayer led GCHS with a first-place score of 78 — making her the only golfer on the day to break 80. The victory was also Thayer's third straight first-place finish to open the season after wins at Hays and Dodge City.
"I'm just playing one tournament at a time. That's all I'm planning on doing," said a modest Thayer, who won by eight strokes. "My game's really solid right now, but I've still got a few things to work on to kind of tweak it and play better next time. I just feel like I'm a better competitor this year than last year."
Thayer is lining up to win the WAC MVP for the second straight year, as long as she maintains finishing towards the top in the final two WAC-hosted tournaments (Sept. 24 at Liberal and at Great Bend on Oct. 6).
GCHS junior Taylor Morrow tied for sixth by recording a round of 90, while sophomore Anna Robinson tied for 10th with a 92. The tie for 10th was the third consecutive top-10 finish for Robinson this year.
"It feels good. It does," Robinson said. "It's nice to finally have the consistent score. To have a score that you can usually count on. Everybody has a bad day, but it's nice to finally be one of the ones that's up there on the leaderboard."
Freshman Abbie Campbell also earned a medal with her 13th-place finish with a round of 96. It was Campbell's second straight tournament in which she earned an individual medal.
"Abbie's been right there all year," Tiffany said. "She's been real steady and like I said earlier in the year, she is going to be awfully good by the time she leaves Garden City High School. But she's had a great start to her career and she's played a major part in our success to this point."
The third consecutive team victory gives Garden City a solid lead for the WAC team title with just two WAC tournaments remaining. But still, the Lady Buffs understand that the title is theirs to lose.
"I think we've pretty much got this one closed out," Thayer said. "But you don't know until you play the last two tournaments. It would be awesome if we could win, especially for Syd (Sassaman) with this being her senior year. I think she really wanted to do that."
Garden City will be back on the links next Tuesday at Salina South.
Area results: Syracuse's Kamie Rash was the top area finisher with a tie for fourth. Rash shot an 87 for the day, but her score wasn't enough for Syracuse, who finished four strokes behind Ulysses' score of 427 for the top area team finish of fifth-place. Rash, last year's Class 3-2-1A state runnerup, was playing in just her second event after recuperating from surgery last spring to repair torn ligaments in her left knee suffered during the basketball season. She had been medalist at Goodland last week with an 83 in her first tournament.
Ulysses was paced by Jackie McCauley, who shot a 100 to earn 14th-place, while Katelyan Cantrell shot a 102 to finish in a tie for 17th.
Lakin's Maggie Hilbig shot a 92 to finish tied for 10th as the only medalist for the ninth-place Lady Broncs. Holcomb finished six strokes ahead of Lakin, with a team total of 441 paced by Amy Stegman, Samantha Larrick and Melissa Sizemore, who all shot a 105.
Katelyn Marlin of Sublette was the only other area golfer to earn a medal. Marlin tied for 15th with a round of 101.
Garden City High School Invitational
Tuesday at Buffalo Dunes
Team Results — 1. Garden City 356; 2. Dodge City 359; 3. Hays 386; 4. Maize 398; 5. Ulysses 427; 6. Syracuse 431; 7. Goodland 434; 8. Holcomb 441; 9. Lakin 447; 10. Great Bend.
Medalists — 1. Mackenzie Thayer, GCHS 78; 2. Sami Hobson, Hays 86; 3. Friyana Shah, Dodge City 86; 4t. McKenzie Cox, Maize 87; 4t. Kamie Rash, Syracuse 87; 6t. Taylor Morrow, GCHS 90; 6t. Ali Bone, Dodge City 90; 6t. Katie Carmichael, Hays 90; 9. Brittany Waldman, Dodge City 91; 10t. Anna Robinson, GCHS 92; 10t. Maggie Hilbig, Lakin 92; 13. Abbie Campbell, GCHS 96; 14. Jackie McCauley, Ulysses 100; 15t. Holly Hattan, Hays 101; 15t. Katelyn Marlin, Sublette 101.
GCHS — 1. Thayer, 78; 6t. Morrow, 90; 10t. Robinson, 92; 13. Campbell, 96; 40t. Syd Sassaman, 113.
Lakin — 10t. Maggie Hilbig, 92; 34t. Kasarah Woodrow, 111; 40t. Jessica Morgan, 113; 63. Kilee Hutchinson, 131; 65. Kathleen Duncan, 134; Paige Rodd, WD.
Holcomb — 24t. Amy Stegman, 105; 24t. Samantha Larrick, 105; 24t. Melissa Sizemore, 105; 59. Erika Robinson, 126; 60t. Lori Harshbarger, 128; 64. Brianna Barlow, 132.
Syracuse — 4t. Kamie Rash, 87; 40t. Paige Hook, 113; 43t. Stephanie Geven, 114; 50. Madison Brown, 117; 51t. Kelly Darnell, 119; 53t. Diana Meza, 122.
Ulysses — 14. Jackie McCauley, 100; 17t. Katelyan Cantrell, 102; 34t. Maggie Koops, 111; 43t. Kristin Baldwin, 114; 48t. Blake Madsen, 116; Larissa Seger, WD.
Sublette — 15t. Katelyn Marlin, 101; 57t. Austin Davis, 125; 60t. Brittany Alvarado, 128.
Hugoton — 53t. Camrie Sheets, 122.