THS golfers 1st at wintry Sunflower tourney
With the wind chill dipping below freezing and some light snow falling Saturday morning at Sunflower Hills Golf Course in Bonner Springs, Tonganoxie High’s golf team toughed out the non-spring conditions and won a shortened nine-hole tournament.
With a team score of 173 in their season opener, the Chieftains edged Kaw Valley League foe Piper by one stroke to win the Sunflower Hills Invitational.
THS coach Jared Jackson was surprised the tournament was played at all, given the wintry conditions, but he told the golfers going in that it likely would last just nine holes, instead of 18 — a scenario that had caught the team off guard last season at the KVL tournament.
Jackson said the Chieftains expected to play well at Sunflower Hills because it is their “home” course, where they often practice, and they are familiar with the layout.
That showed in the results as four out of five THS golfers finished in the top 15 — Colby Yates tied for second place, Drew Sandburg tied for fourth and Aaron Williams and Kody Campbell tied for 13th.
Jackson said they were able to play well because they dealt with the weather conditions.
“All the players were prepared mentally to face the challenge,” the coach said. “We try to practice in all conditions throughout the year, so we aren't shocked by the weather.”
Tonganoxie’s season-opening first-place finish came in a tournament field featuring five programs that will be in the team’s Class 4A regional tournament on May 16 — most notably Piper, St. James Academy and De Soto. On Saturday, THS finished one stroke ahead of PHS, eight in front of SJA and a comfortable 18 strokes better than DHS. Jackson said those schools will be in the hunt with Tonganoxie for state qualification and the Chieftains must continue to improve if they want to win more tournaments this season.
“It is always good to start with a win, but time will tell how we respond to the victory,” Jackson said. “Last year we opened with a win and proceeded to play our worst tournament of the year the following week. Our margin of victory was so small this year that I think the players will respond with an increased level of urgency in practice.”
Tonganoxie’s next tournament isn’t until 1 p.m. on April 6, when it will compete at the Mill Valley Invite.
Sunflower Hills Invitational
Saturday at Bonner Springs
Team scores: 1. Tonganoxie, 173; 2. Piper, 174; 3. St. James Academy, 181; 4. De Soto, 191; 5. Bonner Springs, 191; 6. Bishop Ward, 195; 7. Turner, 205; 8. Lansing, 217.
Tonganoxie results: tie-2. Colby Yates, 39; tie-4. Drew Sandburg, 42; tie-13. Aaron Williams, 46; tie-13. Kody Campbell, 46; Tyler Hall, 53.