Garden City’s Trent Specht, formerly head golf coach at Holcomb High School, and now will be the head girls/boys golf coach at Garden City High School beginning in the fall, led a contingent of 15 qualifiers Wednesday for the Kansas Amateur Match Play Championship.
The qualifying event at The Golf Club at Southwind saw 30 players vying for 15 spots to advance to the July 16 to 22 Kansas Amateur which will be contested at Firekeeper Golf Course in Mayetta, north of Topeka.
Specht shot a steady 2-over-par 73 on the 6,867-yard, par-71, Southwind layout to finish one shot ahead of two other local Garden Citians, former GCHS golf coach Walker Frey and GCHS head wrestling coach Carlos Prieto, both of whom were at 74.
Former Garden City High School players Logan Durst (76) and Connor Schultz (78) were among the other qualifiers to advance. The final spot was claimed by Shawn Audrain, a former Garden City Men’s City Champion, who won a three-way playoff with a par on the first playoff hole after tying with Cameron Riley of Liberal and Kevin Quinley of Salina at 81.
Among other area qualifiers were Rod Riley of Liberal (75), Grady Millikan of Ulysses (76), Maddux Mills of Liberal (78) and Matthew Vogel of Dodge City (79).
Southwind is one of five sectional qualifying sites to advance a field that will approximate 140-plus golfers. Topeka Country Club held a qualifier on Monday while Sand Creek Station in Newton (June 25), Manhattan Country Club (June 26) and Falcon Lakes Golf Club in Basehor (June 27) round out the original qualifiers.
There will be a second-chance qualifier for those who did not make it out of the original five sites, that scheduled for July 6 at Eagle Bend Golf Course in Lawrence.
Several local golfers were exempt from sectional qualifying by virtue of past accomplishments. That list includes Sean Thayer (1999 Kansas Amateur champion); Sion Audrain (2017 High Plains Amateur Champion) and Taylor Larsen (2017 Kansas Junior Player of the Year).