Sion Audrain has a few titles to his credit in his relatively young amateur golf career.
Among those are the 2017 Class 6A state high school championship, as well as the 2016 and 2017 Kansas Golf Association High Plains Amateur, which is played on his home course at The Golf Club at Southwind.
On Tuesday, Audrain will begin a three-day, 54-hole journey in hopes of adding another title, matching his former Garden City High School teammate Taylor Larsen’s 2016 victory at the AJGA Kansas Junior, which is set to be contested at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.
The event tees off at 7:20 a.m. with players teeing off both Nos. 1 and 10 tees through 9 a.m. and then a second wave teeing off the same two holes from 11:30 a.m. to 1:10 p.m.
There will be a cut after Wednesday’s second round, with about 50 percent of the field of 91 boys and 32 girls making the final round pairings for Thursday.
Audrain has played in the AJGA Junior before, finishing eighth a year ago with rounds of 74-73-75—222, seven shots behind winner Tyler Severin’s 215 (73-70-72). He returns with the goal in mind of coming away with his first AJGA victory. Three weeks ago, Audrain tied for fifth at the Hale Irwin Colorado Junior in Westminster with rounds of 74-71-71, and the following week he placed third at the Kansas Golf Association Junior Stroke Play with rounds of 67-75-70 (212), just one shot behind eventual champion Michael Winslow, who won a playoff from Salina’s Tate Herrenbruck, who also will be in the field this week.
Elle Nachmann, 15, will return to defend her 2017 title when she posted winning rounds of 74-75-72, two shots ahead of Katherine Zhu, who is not in this year’s field.
Another member of Garden City High School’s boys team, Reid Richmeier, will be in the field. Alyssa McMillen, a junior-to-be at GCHS, will compete in the girls division as will Stanton County High School golfer Rylie Cook, another junior-to-be.
The remaining field comes from 16 states and four countries. There are seven former AJGA champions in the field, with 28 native Kansans set to compete. Of that group, six will be in the boys division, including Audrain, who has verbally committed to play at the University of Kansas in the fall of 2019. Other verbal commits include Jack Baker of Wichita (Kansas State), Brock Barnhart of Robins, Iowa (Iowa State), Brian Boles and Jayce Hargrove, both of Lubbock, Texas (Texas Tech) and Gaven Lane of Argyle, Texas (Oklahoma State).
On the girls side of verbal commits, there are Rose Baral of Las Vegas (University of Tulsa), Bentley Cotton of Austin, Texas (Baylor), Madelyn Jones of Austin, Texas (University of Notre Dame) and Haley Vargas of Lubbock, Texas (Kansas State).
“We’ve got a terrific field for this year’s tournament,” Solomon Hughes, AJGA Tournament Director, said on Friday. “We’ve had great players here in the past and there’s a strong field once again.”
The AJGA Kansas Junior is but one of 122 tournaments conducted throughout the calendar year by the AJGA. One of the primary objectives of the AJGA is to provide opportunities for young men and women to earn college scholarships.
“We will have college coaches here throughout the week, taking a look at some of the young players who are competing,” Hughes said. “It’s a great opportunity for these young golfers.”
Hughes, who worked the 2016 Kansas Junior at Buffalo Dunes, said he’s happy to return to western Kansas.
“You get to experience a wide range of golf courses, a wide range of people from different geographic areas, so that’s always a fun part of our job,” Hughes said.
The tournament is open to the public for golf fans.