Wind blows Lions away at state golf
Wichita On a windy day where the greens played fast and the rough lived up to its name, the Lansing High golf team played to a 12th-place finish at the Class 5A state tournament at Auburn Hills Golf Course.
This marks the second straight year LHS has placed 12th at state. St. Thomas Aquinas won the state title with a four-man score of 330, Emporia was the runner-up with a 332 and Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel placed third with a 339. LHS shot a 406.
"Getting here is one thing, but performing once you get here, that's what we've got to start doing a little bit better job of," LHS coach Bill Pekarek said.
Kapaun freshman Max Lazzo won the state title with a 4-over-par 76, but he needed a one-hole playoff to beat Bishop Miege's Dan Ritz for the crown.
Junior Maria Jackson was Lansing's top performer with a 96. Other LHS competitors were Stefan Froelich (101), Kyle Willcott (103), Josh Greene (106), Zach Robinson (111) and Ryan Willcott (114).
Pekarek said wind was the greatest obstacle on what already was a challenging course.
"With 20- to 30-mile-per-hour winds, and sometimes gusts even stronger than that, I'm sure it could push your ball into a pond or into some deep grass or out of bounds," he said. "I'm sure the wind even affected some putts and chipping today. But that's kind of what golf is. You've got to be able to play in the wind, and if you're playing in Kansas especially, it's going to blow quite a bit."
Perhaps the best example of the wind's impact came when Jackson was on the 15th green. As she lined up what should have been a 12-foot putt for par, the wind suddenly picked up and blew Jackson's ball 20 feet down the green for a much more difficult shot. She ended up making a double-bogey on the hole.
Kyle Willcott said the number of quality players in the tournament added to the psychological pressure.
"Everyone in my group was better than me," he said. "There was definitely an intimidation factor."
Kyle Willcott said the experience he gained by participating in the state tournament would benefit him in the future, though. Just a sophomore, he was one of four LHS players who appeared in their first state tournament. Kyle Willcott also is one of four Lansing players who will return next year with state experience. Juniors Jackson and Robinson will be back along with Greene, a sophomore.
"We hope the experience is going to pay off for us," Pekarek said. "If everybody will keep working on their game in the summer and into next year, we can be a lot better."