Cameron, Nelson headed to state
LHS places fourth at regional golf
Topeka Andrew Cameron eyed the Class 5A golf regional leaderboard with an anxious smile Monday as he waited for the final scores to be turned in.
Cameron, a junior and third-year varsity golfer at Lansing High, missed qualifying for state last year when he shot an 84. This year, however, his 85 was good enough to earn him his first trip to the state tournament.
It was a special moment for Cameron on what was otherwise a difficult day for LHS. Senior Chris Nelson also earned a state bid with an 89, but the four remaining Lions will be staying home on May 23 while Cameron and Nelson head to state at Ironhorse Country Club in Leawood.
"I shot an 84 and the cut was 78 last year," Cameron said. "This year I shoot an 85, so it's kind of surprising to have such a high score and be going to state. But I'm happy."
Cameron has been Lansing's most consistent player throughout the season, but he had a self-described off-day Monday as he fired a 45 on the front nine. Cameron settled down on the back side, however. He refocused and shot a 40 on the final nine holes.
Cameron's 18-hole total was a team best at regionals, but when he turned in his score card he figured his season was over. What he didn't realize, though, was that a majority of the golfers throughout the field struggled on the long tree-lined course so his 85 held up nicely. In fact, it was the tenth-best score of the day.
"The trees played a big part today," Cameron said of what made the course so difficult. "If I could have putted a little bit better that would have made me a lot happier. The greens were kind of slow today. They started speeding up in the afternoon as it was drying out a little bit."
Cameron actually handled the adversity better than most golfers in the field. Nelson didn't do as well, but he still was efficient enough to earn a second straight trip to state. The senior and returning state medalist followed his best round of the year last week at the Kaw Valley League meet with arguably his worst round of the season. He made a whopping 37 putts, and then took an eight on the 18th hole after losing a ball and putting another in the sand trap,
Nelson said he wasn't about to lose any sleep over his rough round. Instead, he said his thoughts are on the future.
"I'm definitely smiling knowing that I've got a chance to redeem myself," Nelson said. "This would have been a bad way to go out. When I got off the eighteenth green I thought it was the end of my high school golf career."
Junior Javen Kelly narrowly missed qualifying for state as his round of 93 was the seventh best score from a golfer not on a qualifying team. Only the top five scores qualified for state. Max Kozak also was close to earning a state bid as his round of 96 was the eighth-best non-qualifying score. Freshman Maria Jackson shot a 98 and sophomore Stefan Froelich rounded things out with a 104.