Southwest Kansas area high school boys golf teams made their final quests for state tournament appearances on Monday when regional tournaments were conducted at various sites in central and western Kansas.
Highlighting the efforts of area teams included victories by Syracuse at the Class 2A regional in Elkhart at Point Rock Golf Club, South Gray’s Class 1A triumph at Stafford Country Club and Cimarron’s Class 3A runner-up finish at Norton’s Prairie Dog Golf Club.
Three area golfers reached the state tournament, after strong performances at the Class 4A regional tournament held at the Crazy Horse Golf Club in Hutchinson on Monday afternoon.
Ulysses’ Austin Perez finished in fifth and Brandon Peters was 11th, with with scores of 81 and 88, respectively, earning them a spot in the state tournament next week.
Joining the two Tigers is Holcomb’s Alan Novack, who also qualified for state with a score of 91, placing him in 14th. All three golfers will look to place next week at the Emporia Municipal Golf Course, where the 4A state tournament tees off at 8 a.m.
After a third place finish in last year's state tournament, the Cimarron Bluejay golf team will look to improve on that finish after qualifying for the state tournament, with a score of 331, placing them in second as a team, finishing 13 strokes behind the eventual winner Phillipsburg Panthers, at the Class 3A regional finals, held at the Prairie Dog Golf Course in Norton.
Head coach Lance Walker, although happy with the team's return to state, thought his team didn't perform as well as they could have on Monday.
“It was a tale of two nines. We were really good in the first nine, and we then we kind of faltered in the back nine,” said Walker. “We had a four stroke lead entering the back nine, and we obviously a lost it there. We were off, and we couldn't recover from the little mistakes.
“This was the first tournament since the state tournament last year that we didn't win, so our team didn't take it well,” said Walker. “They are disappointed in themselves, and were practicing on their chipping and putting on the course as soon they got home.”
Individually, leading the way for Cimarron was senior Matt Mowry with a score of 79 placing him in fourth place. Not far behind was senior teammate Josh Seabolt who finished fifth with a score of 80.
Not all is doom and gloom for the Bluejays, however, as they are still excited to reach the state tournament for the third year in a row as a team.
“I'm still proud and I'm overall pleased with my team,” said Walker. “We are excited to move on as our main goal was to reach the state tournament. Our team score was not our best, but we were still able to finish second.”
The Bluejays will look to place high at the 3A state tournament, as they will travel to Seneca and play Spring Creek Golf Course on Monday.
The Syracuse Bulldogs, behind senior Will Kullot’s first-place finish, captured the team title of the Class 2A regional at Point Rock Golf Club in Elkhart.
The first-place finish automatically qualified the Bulldogs for the state tournament next Monday at Crestwood Country Club in Pittsburg.
Although pleased with Syracuse'swin, head coach Rick Mathias thought his team has had better performances this season.
“We had mostly a sub-par performance today. Outside of Will’s performance, I don't think we shot that well,” Mathias said. “For me, they were tense because of the situation and of the pressure. They were wanting to play well, but we have a lot of inexperience on the team.”
Kullot did have a strong performance for the Bulldogs. After winning the regional tournament with a score of 2-under-par 70, the senior will look to compete for an individual state crown in his final high school event.
Mathias complimented another strong day for his senior golfer.
“Will played really good, and had had good control of his game.” Mathias said.
Mathias is not entirely disappointed with the team’s result as they did finish in first place.
“Obviously, we are looking forward to moving on,” said Mathias. “We have improved so much as a team since last year. We weren't happy with our performance from last year (at the state tournament), so we're happy to be back.”
Stanton County’s Trojans third-place finish also qualified them for the state tournament.
The South Gray Rebels golf team qualified for the state tournament, finishing first with a score of 378 at the Stafford Country Club on Monday afternoon.
Leading the way for the Rebels was Eli Bullinger, who earned medalist honors with a 75. It was another 10 shots to runner-up teammate Ismael Rosas, who finished with a score of 85.
In the other Class 1A regional, which took place at the Atwood Country Club, Greeley County’s Jose Chavez’ qualified for the state tournament with a third place finish. His score of 86 was good enough for an automatic qualification to next week's tournament which is set to take place at Mariah Hills Golf Course next Monday at Dodge City. Tee time is scheduled for 9 a.m.