Ulysses runner-up at GWAC tourney
By KEVIN THOMPSON
The Great West Activities Conference played its league golf tournament under the most ideal of conditions.
That means it was a no-excuses round of golf for the players at Buffalo Dunes.
Goodland made the most of the day, taking the team title by 18 strokes and placing four golfers in the top 10, including the top two spots.
Only two players broke 80 on a course of rain-softened fairways. Goodland's Gage Ihrig shot 74 to win the title, while Gannon Ihrig was runner-up with a 79. Teammates Tanner Jones and Thatcher Jones shot 82 and 83 to finish fourth and seventh, respectively.
Goodland's 318 was enough to out-distance second-place Ulysses (336) and Scott City (370). Hugoton finished fourth at 372, Colby fifth at 422, and Holcomb sixth (453).
Ulysses was led by senior Jonah Pfingsten, who placed third with an 82. Teammate Joseph Lisle, the team's number-four golfer, also shot 82 to finish fifth. Jake Epperson (85) and Austin Cantrell (87) placed ninth and 10th to round out the Tigers' low scores.
Lisle's 82 is a personal best, and he helped himself with an eagle at the par-5 first hole.
"I split the bunkers then hit a 4 iron onto the green," the junior explained. "Then I made a 40-foot putt that was pretty straight."
Lisle credits his short game with his low round. And his team's 336 helps the Tigers mentally going into Monday's regional, which will be played in Ulysses.
Pfingsten said the course played soft after Wednesday's heavy rains, but the greens, freshly aerated, were a challenge.
"I played good," he said. "My drives were going left and right a lot, with no consistency on them."
The league meet was a good warm-up for Monday's regional, and Pfingsten feels good about hosting.
"We didn't show up for our home meet (earlier this season)," he added. "But I'm feeling confident in this group."
The senior qualified for state his freshman and sophomore years, and qualifying would be a good way to cap his high school career, he said.
Qualifying as a team would be great, he added, but the competition will be tough.
"We'll have to be mentally tough," Pfingsten said. "We hit the ball good, but we hit a bad shot and think about it."
Hugoton had four players shoot in the 90s, led by Kolton Decker's 90 and Rance Ralstin's 93.
For Ulysses coach Jack Wolf, hosting the 4A regional should be an advantage for his team in a tough meet.
"We played well on Tuesday (at Elkhart) and today, so hopefully that will play well for regionals," he said.
Playing Buffalo Dunes is a comparable challenge to the Ulysses course in a number of ways, Wolf said, so league was a good test for playing Monday.
"We played here (Dunes) twice this year and our course once (in competition)," he added.
Hopefully, he said, that means his team will be ready for Monday.
Scott City's lone medalist was Justin Unruh, who placed eighth with a 43-42 (85). Marshal Hutchins fired an 89 and Nick Storm a 92 for the Beavers.
Holcomb's low scorers were Jake Hawkins (101) and Connor Yonkman (106).
Holcomb and Scott City will compete at the 3A regional in Cimarron Monday.