Juhl leads Buffaloes to team title in home invite

GCHS Athletics
Garden City High School's Theo Juhl hits a fairway shot on the No. 9 green Saturday at Buffalo Dunes golf course during the GCHS boys golf invite.  Players played at the Dunes in the morning, then played The Golf Club at Southwind in the afternoon. Juhl finished third in the meet to help lead the Buffaloes to the team title.

GCHS also claims WAC team championship on day

For three seasons, one of which never became a reality, Garden City High School golf coach Trent Specht has attempted to host a major Kansas high school tournament using both of Garden City’s highly-ranked golf courses for a one-day, 36-hole event.

He finally got his wish on Saturday with seven full teams competing on the two links-style courses south of the city.

Specht also got an extra present when he watched his young Buffaloes shoot their best scores of the year, firing a 311 at Buffalo Dunes in the morning round and following that up with a 315 at The Golf Club at Southwind in the afternoon for a total of 626, nine shots ahead of Western Athletic Conference foe Great Bend’s 635 (316-319).

Despite the small field (Specht hopes to see the field expand to 18 teams in 2022), the competition was stiff as Wichita-Kapaun Mt. Carmel (5A), Salina-Sacred Heart (2A) and Santa Fe Trail (3A) are among the elite teams in their respective classifications. Kapaun Mt. Carmel was third at 639 (313-326), Santa Fe Trail was fourth (323-330—653) and Sacred Heart fifth (324-335—659).

Garden City junior Theo Juhl continued to be the top player for the Buffs, finishing third individually with rounds of 73 at Buffalo Dunes and 74 at Southwind for a 147 total, putting him at 4-over-par for the two rounds. Dodge City senior Davan Smith walked off with medalist honors by blistering the two courses with consecutive 2-under-par rounds of 70-69—139. Cole Streck of Great Bend placed second at 145 (72-73).

Garden City High School's Cayden Cundiff chips on to the No. 4 green Saturday during the GCHS boys golf invite at Buffalo Dunes golf course.  Cundiff finished sixth overall on the day.

The morning round at Buffalo Dunes also served as the official WAC tournament (4th of 5), with the Buffs’ 311 edging out Great Bend’s 315. The Buffs have now won all four league meets with Liberal remaining on the schedule (Tuesday, May 11, weather permitting). Smith’s 70 was low in the WAC portion, with Scheck second and Juhl third.

Specht said he couldn’t have been more pleased with how the tournament came off from a logistical standpoint (8:30 a.m./2 p.m. shotgun starts), and then the icing on the cake came with the team championship.

“I’m so proud of the way the boys competed and stayed focused for the two rounds,” Specht said. “The conditions were really tough (15mph wind in the morning/20-30mph wind in the afternoon). But they were more patient than we’ve been all year and just held their own against some really good teams.”

All season, Specht has said his team would improve as the tournaments came and went. And Saturday proved him correct. The Buffs have just two seniors and only one of them played on the six-man varsity squad.

“We’ve gotten better each week in one way or another,” Specht said. “We showed a lot of heart today and that’s all a coach can ask.”

Cayden Cundiff finished sixth overall with a 155 total on rounds of 79 (Dunes) and 76 (Southwind). Jack Koksal was right behind at 156 (78’s at each course), and Aaron Allen finished in the top 20 on rounds of 84 at each course.

After the final Liberal tournament, the Buffs will have nearly a week to prepare for the Class 6 regional tournament, which they will host at Buffalo Dunes on May 17. The top 3 teams from the regional will advance to the state tournament on May 24-25 at Quail Ridge Golf Course in Winfield.

Saturday’s marathon tournament concluded a busy and demanding week of golf for the Buffs. They had played at Great Bend on Monday (May 3), a 36-hole Tuesday tournament at Hesston/Sand Creek Station in Newton, and then on Wednesday competed in the 6A state preview at Quail Ridge before returning home for one day to prep for the home invite.

“It was really a tough, tough week both physically and mentally for the boys,” Specht said. “But they really took each tournament and focused on that day.”

36-HoleTeam Scores/Totals

(Buffalo Dunes AM/GC at Southwind PM)

1. Garden City, 311-315—626; 2. Great Bend, 316-319—635; 3. Wichita-Kapaun Mt. Carmel, 313-326—639; 4. Santa Fe Trail, 323-330—653; 5. Salina-Sacred Heart, 324-335—659; 6. Hays High, 349-370—719; 7. Liberal, 422-441—863.

Individual Top 10 (36-Hole Scores)

Par—72 (Buffalo Dunes)/71 (GC at Southwind)

1. Davan Smith, Dodge City, 139; 2. Cole Streck, Great Bend, 145; 3. Theo Juhl, Garden City, 147; 4. Brent Reintjes, Wichita-Kapaun Mt. Carmel, 148; 5. Cooper Scheck, Dodge City, 150; 6. Cayden Cundiff, Garden City, 155; 7. Jack Koksal, Garden City, 156; 8T. Scott Heilman, Great Bend and Tyler Duncan, Santa Fe Trail, 157; 10. Blake Buessing, Santa Fe Trail, 158.

Garden City Individual Scores

Theo Juhl, 147; Cayden Cundiff, 155; Jack Koksal, 156; Aaron Allen, 168; Zach Warren, 173; Mason Vigil, 176; Keith Burr, 177; Cooper Frey, 205; Caleb Carr, 236;

Western Athletic Conference

Buffalo Dunes Golf Course (18 Holes Only)

Team Scores

1. Garden City, 311; 2. Great Bend, 316; 3. Hays, 349; 4. Dodge City, 369; 5. Liberal, 422.

Individual Top 5

1. Davan Smith, Dodge City, 70; 2. Theo Juhl, Garden City, 73; 3. Cooper Scheck, Dodge City, 75; 4. Jack Koksal, Garden City, 78; 5. Cayden Cundiff, Garden City, 79.