Bonner Springs’ Opat takes 7th at rain-shortened KVL golf tourney
The weather was unkind to Kaw Valley League golfers on Monday, forcing the league championships at Sunflower Hills Golf Course to be reduced from 18 holes to nine.
While some players struggled with the conditions, Bonner Springs’ Logan Opat embraced them and turned in a strong showing. He fired a 43 and garnered medalist honors for his seventh-place finish.
BSHS coach Ryan Hull said he was impressed that Opat played with such confidence in the face of adverse conditions such as a steady rainfall that pelted the players throughout the afternoon.
“He seemed to thrive under the conditions, and it may have been that he knew everyone else was miserable,” Hull said. “This is our second straight tournament that our number three golfer has led our team, which is funny because our (first three) golfers shoot around the same.”
Mill Valley’s Matt Rayburn won the league title with a 37, Seth Hatfield of Piper was second with a 39 and Tonganoxie’s Justin Jacobs finished third with a 40.
Piper captured the team championship with a four-player score of 172, Tonganoxie was second with 173 and Mill Valley took third after a tiebreaker with 173. Basehor-Linwood placed sixth with 184 and Bonner Springs was seventh with 187.
Hull said he wasn’t bothered by the decision to shorten the tournament rather than trying to push it back a few days. Tuesday, for example, turned out to be warm and sunny.
“Make-up dates are difficult to come by this late in the season, with everyone’s regional on Monday or Tuesday (of next week),” Hull said. “Several league schools would not have been able to make Tuesday, for example, because of another make-up meet, and several schools — including us — have graduation on Thursday night. A full round would have been nice, but given the circumstances, we had to play with what was in front of us.”
In addition to Opat, Steven Walker also had a good day for Bonner Springs. His round of 44 kept him out of the medals by one stroke.
“Steven always shoots solid rounds for us,” Hull said. “His goal, as well as the other top golfers, is to drop to around 42 per nine holes. He is almost there. If he can put it together next Tuesday, I think he, along with a couple of his teammates, might be able to qualify (for state).”
Also for BSHS, Shane Crosby shot 47, Jonathan Price shot 53, Ethan Hook had a 66 and Jason VanMaren fired a 69.
The weather also took its toll on Basehor-Linwood’s golfers. None of the Bobcats cracked the top 10, although Gabe Vlasic and Aaron Williams came close. Both shot 45.
BLHS coach Bruce Courtney said he was pleased with the way they handled the conditions and showed improvement.
“Gabe and Aaron are both getting better every time out,” he said. “Both had a good hole early, and I think that gave them a lot of confidence. These two love the game and work hard every day in practice, and that carries over into the tournaments.”
Nick Rhodes shot 46, Alec Otting had 48, Bobby Courtney fired a 50, and Caleb Johnson finished with a 51.
The round was frustrating for Bobby Courtney who, as the Bobcats’ most experienced player, has battled an up-and-down season while juggling golf with track.
Coach Courtney said he expected the senior to be focused and ready to bounce back at regionals.
“Bobby hasn’t had the senior season that he wanted to have,” he said. “But he has been a tremendous leader for the younger players. I don’t think the younger guys get to where they are now without Bobby’s leadership. He has always been there congratulating them even when he didn’t play well. I know he is focused on regionals now; today for example he played 21 holes on his own.”
Basehor-Linwood will compete in the Class 4A regional tournament at 9 a.m. Monday at Hiawatha Country Club. Other teams in the regional will be Atchison, Baldwin, De Soto, Hiawatha, Piper, Bishop Ward, St. James Academy, Spring Hill and Tonganoxie.
Bonner Springs will play in the Class 5A regional tournament at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Cypress Ridge Golf Course in Topeka. Other schools in the regional will be Emporia, Lansing, Shawnee Heights, Highland Park, Topeka Seaman and Topeka West.