Golfers struggle at regional tourney
Hopes were appropriately high, and perhaps that's what makes it all so disappointing.
Returning to the site of its best tournament all season -- Osawatomie -- the De Soto golf team couldn't come close to matching itself at Monday's regional. Rather than qualifying numerous players -- perhaps even the entire team -- to the state tournament, the Cats are left with serious questions and a long off season with which to find the answers.
Not a single De Soto golfer qualified for state.
"It wasn't a good day for us," coach Scott Sharp said. "It was actually the highest scoring tournament we've had in the last five years."
Matt Woywod offered up one of the most puzzling performances. Woywod found his form after an early-season slump and was the definition of calm, cool and collected as he rattled off round after round of mid- to low-80s scores.
When he was last at the Osawatomie course, Woywod shot an 82. Monday he carded a 98.
The story was the same down the Wildcats lineup. De Soto had its best meet of the season when it played in Osawatomie on April 22, shooting a 342. Had the Cats managed the same score, they would have placed second as a team.
Instead they shot a program-worst 395. That's 53 strokes between just the top four players.
Nic Bergmann, who shot an 87 the first time, was 13 strokes worse, at 99. Mitchel Roberts was 17 strokes worse, going from a 90 to a 107.
Scott McKechnie added 10 strokes, from 89 to 99.
It's simply baffling, Sharp said.
"It might have been nerves. It might have been stress. It might have been confidence," Sharp said. "I'm not sure. I looked at playing at Osawatomie again as a huge advantage. A 342 out there was phenomenal and perfectly within the guys' abilities but when the pressure was on, we weren't able to get that done and that's an understatement."
While little could explain the gargantuan dip, Sharp did offer up several reasons the squad may have been off its game.
First, it had been a long, long time since the team has played any competitive golf. De Soto's last tournament was on May 3, 12 days before Monday's regional. The last varsity action before that was April 24 at the Frontier League meet in Lawrence.
"I really don't like that gap," Sharp said. "Tournaments naturally build that intensity up and keep the level of excitement up and that long gap provided too long of a mental break."
Also, Monday's rounds came with a little something extra. The regional tournament is the team's only round all season supervised by an official scorer. Sharp speculated the extra set of eyes might have been the final straw.
"It was a very, very frustrating day," Sharp said. "We've shot 382 and 383 on some big blow up days, and some 370s, but we never shot in the 390s. Shooting 395 was a big surprise to everybody."