After postponing last week because of cold and rainy conditions, competitors at the Manhattan Country Club faced different adversity on Monday at the rescheduled Manhattan Invitational.
A brisk wind picked up before the start of the tournament and only got stronger as the day went on, forcing golfers to adjust on the fly.
Playing on its home course, the Manhattan High golf team played through the gusts of wind and finished in third place as a team, shooting a 324.
David Woods was the top finisher for the Indians, shooting a 78 and taking the third-place medal.
Manhattan head coach Brad Ficke said Woods battled through the final six holes to end with a strong finish, including a nearly 350-foot drive on No. 18 that left him just short of the green.
“I think he was like 6-over after 12, so he really grinded it out at the end,” Ficke said. “He had a heck of a drive on No. 18 and he’s hitting shots. From the time he was a freshman until now, he just never quits.”
Woods said it was difficult to stay on the fairway hitting into the wind.
“When I was going into the wind, I hit it pretty far, so it didn’t affect me that much going into the greens, but it was definitely tough keeping the ball straight into the wind,” he said. “I don’t set a number for myself, I just take it shot by shot and play each to the best of my ability, and just go from there.”
Washburn Rural won the tournament with a 315, with Andrew Beckler taking medalist honors with a 72, five strokes better than second place.
Manhattan’s Cole Dillon took sixth place with an 81, while Scott Woods finished in 11th with an 82. Pierson McAtee shot a 45 on the front nine but shot a 38 on the back nine to shoot an 83, good for 14th place. Drew Casper shot an 88, while Dylan Gros hit a 90 to round out the team’s scores.
While third place out of 13 teams is good, Ficke knows the team can do better.
“We just have to bear down and find consistency — 315 is a score we can shoot” Ficke said. “High school golf really isn’t a team sport. You just add the four best scores together. You’ve got to have guys that can get it down, and we’re working on it. We’re capable.”
David Woods said the team has the depth to compete amongst the best in the state.
“We have really good depth this year, more than we’ve had the past few years,” he said. “We just need to put that toward lower scores.”
While the wind inflated many of the athletes scores on the day, Ficke said every team had to battle through it.
“It did pick up a little bit, but it was pretty consistent,” he said. “I don’t think anybody saw that coming, but I’d rather have rain than wind, but we’ll take what we can get.”
Manhattan also fielded a four-person second squad, with Tyler Brennan leading the way with an 86. Cole Gritton shot a 94, Will Grogan a 106 and Trevor Dillon a 113.