Archive for Thursday, May 4, 2006

Basehor-Linwood golfers growing together

May 4, 2006

The golf season is coming to a close, but Basehor-Linwood High School coach Chad Harvey still can't identify the top player on his team. In fact, he'd be hard-pressed to even set a top five on his varsity squad.

"We're all within three strokes of each other, one through seven," Harvey said. "It's really kind of hard to tell who's going to step up each tournament, it's always somebody different."

That kind of uncertainty and inconsistently isn't what any coach wants to see, but isn't unexpected given the makeup of the BLHS squad. Harvey has just one senior and two juniors on his entire team and the rest are a group of freshmen and sophomores who have shown talent but are still searching for consistency.

Corey Bunting is the lone senior of the group, while Brett Johnson and Toby Moody are the juniors. The top seven is rounded out by sophomores Tanner Swafford and Sam Mustain and freshmen Ryan Fritz and Chris Douglas. Moody and Mustain are the only Bobcats who entered this season with varsity experience.

"This team is so young that maturity comes into play," Harvey said. "We're going to be really good in the future, but right now we don't have the senior leaders that other schools have."

Despite the lack of upperclassmen, the Bobcats have managed to finish in the middle of the pack in most tournaments and have had three different golfers earn medals this season. Swafford and Mustain both medaled at the Sunflower Invitational early in the season. That tournament was held at Sunflower Hills, where the Bobcats practice, which Harvey said helped. Douglas is the only one who has medaled outside the home course, firing an 84 at the Gardner Invitational. Harvey said the freshman's performance at Gardner was probably the best round anyone on the team has shot this season.

"It was very good considering he was playing out there," Harvey said. "That course is extremely tight."

The Bobcats have just a few more chances at varsity medals this season. They're at Perry-Lecompton this Thursday for the last invitational tournament of the season. Then there's the Kaw Valley League meet, on Monday, May 8, which will take place at Sunflower Hills.

The league meet is the final tune-up before regionals on May 15, where the season will end for most golfers. Only the top finishers there will qualify for state, though Harvey said he thinks a number of Bobcats have the tools to do it.

"With the way they play I think any of them have a chance to qualify," he said. "They all have the right ball-striking capability, it just comes down to who will compete the best mentally... being able to calm the nerves and just play golf."

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