Buffs' golfers earn trip to 6A state
By BRETT MARSHALL
It was just by the slimmest of slim margins, but the one-stroke edge over rival Dodge City was enough to qualify the Garden City Buffaloes' boys golf team for the Class 6A state tournament.
The Buffs' 344 score was that all-important one shot better than Dodge's 345 on Monday at the Class 6A regional qualifying tournament at Sim Park Golf Course in Wichita.
Freshman Taylor Larsen paced the Buffs with an 81, which also was the fifth lowest score of the day, while junior Connor Schultz placed 15th with an 87 and freshman Logan Durst and senior Austin Swender tied for 16th at 88. Non-scoring rounds of 93 and 94 were shot by Tucker Schiffelbein and Lucas Goss.
"We certainly didn't play our best, but it was good enough," head coach Walker Frey said in a telephone interview. "That's the main objective. I thought the course was easy, but it was windy. All the kids seemed to have it in their head that it was a hard course."
Frey said the team was only a couple of shots behind first-place finisher Maize (327) and runner-up Hutchinson (329) after nine holes, but faltered on the incoming nine.
"Austin and Taylor were the only ones who played a little better on the back nine," Frey said. "Getting the third spot is all that matters."
Frey said that the Sim Park course layout provided for many downwind holes, most of which played at 350 yards or less.
"I told the kids those are the holes that you have to play smart, and score on," Frey said. "But it seemed like a lot of those holes caused problems for them. It's tough to go low when you're missing out on the easiest holes on the course."
The one-day state tournament will be played May 27 at Topeka Country Club. Frey said he is excited for his relatively young team that is comprised of two seniors (Swender, Schiffelbein), two juniors (Schultz, Goss) and two freshmen (Larsen, Durst).
"It's a great opportunity and will give us a lot of experience to play at a place like Topeka Country Club," Frey said. "It's one of the great courses in Kansas."
With the Memorial Day holiday being on the traditional state tournament Monday, all state golf meets will be played on Tuesday. Practice rounds will be played on Monday.
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.
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