There was no way of making up the deficit that they faced going into the final golf tournament of the 2018 Western Athletic Conference season.
But the Garden City Buffaloes boys golf team did as much as they could to remind Hays High that there is another top team in the WAC as they swept past the Indians by three shots to win the Liberal Invitational on Tuesday at Willow Tree Golf Course.
The Buffs, behind individual runner-up Sion Audrain’s 76, shot a team score of 324 (low 4 counting scores of six players) while the Indians were right behind at 327.
Hays’ Tragdon McCrae also shot a 76 but won the sudden death playoff over Audrain on the first hole to take the top honors and capture the WAC Player of the Year honor. Audrain bogeyed the first playoff hole while McCrae parred.
The run of both team and individual titles in the WAC for the Buffs came to an end as Hays captured the team crown after Garden had won the previous three. Hays last won the WAC in 2014.
On the individual side of things, McCrae snapped the Buffs’ hold on Player of the Year honors from the past as they won the top individual award in 2014 (Taylor Larsen), 2015 (Daniel Gaspar), 2016 (Larsen) and 2017 (Audrain).
“It was an awesome way to finish out the WAC season,” head coach Jacob Waller said of Tuesday’s win. “We were below our season average and we had some good individual highlights.”
Among those was Aaron Schafer’s 80, which put him in fifth place Tuesday, but also was his lowest varsity score of his career.
“He just played real steady all day,” Waller said of Schafer.
Mason Shaddix placed eighth with an 82 while Tyler Morren and Reid Richmeier each shot 86s, with one of those being used in the team total. Zach Warren had a non-counting 101.
“I think everybody was just a little more focused, and it gives us some momentum heading into regionals next week,” said Waller of the 6A tournament scheduled for Monday at Mariah Hills Golf Course in Dodge City. Earlier this season, the Buffs shot a 319 at the Dodge City Invitational.
“We’re just looking for everybody to be on at the same time and be consistent in their scoring,” Waller said.
Teams entered at Dodge City include Derby, Dodge City, Garden City, Hutchinson, Wichita-Haysville Campus, Wichita-North, Wichita-Northwest. The top three teams will advance to the 6A state tournament at Ironhorse Golf Course in Leawood on May 21.
at Willow Tree Golf Course
1. Garden City, 324; 2. Hays High, 327; 3. Liberal, 343; 4. Dodge City, 347; 5. Great Bend, 365.
Individual Top 10
1. McCrae, Hays, 76; 2. Audrain, Garden City, 76; 3. Riley, Liberal, 77; 4. Norris, Hays, 79; 5. Schafer, Garden City, 80; 6. Gleason, Dodge City, 81; 7. Zollinger, Hays, 81; 8. Shaddix, Garden City, 82; 9. Streck, Great Bend, 85; 10. Goertzen, Dodge City, 86.
Garden City Individual Results
1. Sion Audrain, 35-41—76; 5. Aaron Schafer, 39-41—80; 8. Mason Shaddix, 39-43—82; Tyler Morren, 42-44—86; Reid Richmeier, 46-40—86; Zach Warren, 48-53—101.