Indians finish 7th at state golf

By Joel Jellison

Sunday’s practice round at Buffalo Dunes in Garden City included a preview of 10 mph winds and quick greens.

When the Manhattan High boys’ golf team hit the course on Monday for the Class 6A state tournament, the wind picked up to gusts of more than 20 mph, and the greens got even quicker.

The Indians finished with a team score of 334 to take seventh place out of 12 teams. Blue Valley North claimed the title with a score of 300, and had the individual winner with a score of 73.

MHS coach Brad Ficke said the wind and green speed seemed to effect most of the teams there.

“The greens were very fast, I watched several guys five putt and a six putt, which I hadn’t seen in a long time,” he said. “And the wind was significantly more severe than it was on Sunday, I think those two factors make a difference.”

The Indians missed finishing sixth by one stroke to Lawrence Free State, and Ficke said the Kansas City and Lawrence schools finishing ahead of them was a trend at the tournament. MHS scored higher than both teams from its region, as Washburn Rural had 338 and Wichita Heights finished near the bottom.

“I think everyone, maybe besides Blue Valley North, played about five to 10 strokes worse individually on all the teams,” Ficke said. “It was a very nice course, very well taken care of, the wind and greens were just hard to deal with.”

Drew Casper tied for 16 th for the Indians with a score of 80, while Joe Ballard finished with an 84, going from 5 to 11 over par in the last three holes.

David Woods and Pierson McAtee made up the other scorers for MHS with 85s, while Cole Dillon finished with 90 and Scott Woods had 94.

“I think all of my guys shot several strokes worse than usual, maybe with the exception of Drew Casper,” Ficke said. “It was just a long day.”

Manhattan will lose just one player from this year’s squad, as Joe Ballard graduated on Sunday and played his final tournament at state on Monday. The Woods brothers are both sophomores, while Dillon, McAtee and Casper are freshmen.

Ficke said there is already building excitement for next season.

“It was a long day with a lot of stress, but I think for the most part they realized seventh out of 12 teams is nothing to sneeze at,” he said. “Last year if we added up our scores we would have taken 12th out of 12, and I talked to them afterwards and there was optimism for next year.”

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