Koops wins 3rd tourney in past 7 days
By BRETT MARSHALL
In the span of seven days, just one week on the calendar, Maggie Koops has completed a trifecta.
Three tournaments, three different golf courses, three different days of weather.
Three victories. Pretty good week.
The third came on Monday at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, long a nemesis for Koops, a Ulysses senior.
The Lady Tigers' No. 1 player shot an 86 as she rallied on the back nine with a 41 and finished as the medalist at the Great West Activities Conference tournament.
Koops' teammate, Kelsey Kreutzer, was runner-up with a 95, while Logan Perryman of Goodland (96), McKenna Ortner of Colby (99) and Andrea Barton of Colby (99) rounded out the top five.
Just a week before, Koops had won the Lady Tiger tournament in Ulysses with a 78 and backed it up with an 81 on Saturday to win the Lakin Invitational.
Koops' score, however, wasn't enough to lead her team to the team title.
That distinction went to Goodland, which finished with a 408, while Colby was second at 413 and Ulysses third at 418. Holcomb and Hugoton rounded out the tourney scores with totals of 455 and 511.
Up until Monday, Koops had struggled at the difficult Dunes layout, most recently carding a 94 during the Holcomb Invitational just two weeks prior.
"I just wasn't in the gunch as much today," Koops said of the native rough grasses that are a trademark at the Dunes. "My driver was going straight. Usually, it's right, right, right, and that's wrong in golf."
Koops struggled on the front nine, shooting a 9-over-par 45 that started with a double-bogey on the par-5 first. She had her lone birdie of the day on the par-4 third, where she knocked a 9-iron to within 20-feet and drilled the putt.
"That helped settle things down," Koops said. "But then I double-bogeyed the eighth hole (par-3), too."
Things smoothed out on the back nine when she started with a 2-putt on the par-4 10th. That would set the stage for a consistent incoming round, highlighted by 1-putt pars on the par-5 13th and the par-4 14th.
One of the critical holes on the closing portion of the golf course is the lengthy par-5 16th, a hole that has been nothing short of disastrous for Koops in previous visits to the Dunes. She had made a 10 on it in the Holcomb tourney but reached the green in regulation this time and 2-putted for a par.
"It's the first time in the 80s for me here, and I guess it's nice since it's my last round in high school," Koops said. "It's the last time I have to climb the hill on 17 (uphill par-3). I just relaxed today and played decently."
Koops said that the win a week earlier at home had provided the impetus for her improved play.
"I just have more confidence now," Koops said. "Winning makes it easier to win. You just keep going."
Koops, who plans to major in aerospace engineering when she goes off to college next fall, is unsure if golf is in her future plans at the competitive level.
"Really, I don't have any plans right now," Koops said. "I just don't see how I'd be able to do both. But I'll just wait and see what happens. Right now, I'm just having a blast."
See results in Scoreboard, Page B2.