Hopes dashed up front
For better or worse, at least these Wildcats didn't incite any heart attacks. That doesn't mean the De Soto golf team didn't play good golf at Monday's regional tournament, and it doesn't mean some of the players didn't come agonizingly close to breaking through to the state tournament.
Just the way the players went about it prevented any undue frustration.
The De Soto golf team struggled from the first hole Monday at the regional golf tournament at Topeka's Western Hills Golf Course. Nearly every member of the team pieced together a strong back nine, but by that time it was too late, and for the second-consecutive year the Cats won't send representation to the Class 4A state tournament.
"They put themselves in a tough situation," De Soto coach Chad Brecheisen said. "I like to see them put themselves into a position to have a chance, but when you post a big score on the front nine it takes you out of it."
Senior Mitchel Roberts came the closest to earning a trip to the state tournament, hosted this year at the Wamego Country Club.
Roberts sat toward the front of the pack after he shot a 46 on his first nine holes, then surged toward state with a 43 on the next nine. His 89 ended up one shot shy of a bid, however.
"On the front nine I had a couple pars in a row, and that really made me happy," Roberts said. "I guess when I'm happy, I do well. I had two sevens at the end I could have done without, but I'll live."
It was Roberts' best round of his career.
"He's been capable of it all year," Brecheisen said. "It didn't matter where we played, he's been my most consistent golfer. He's been anywhere from 90 to 93. He's never had a bad round, but he never had a really low round.
"He shot an 89, which was right even with where he was all year, but he got to break under the 90 barrier. I was very proud of him."
Though no one Cat came as close, it was a similar story everywhere: bad or OK on the first nine, good or great on the second.
Senior James Ingles capped his first nine off with three consecutive pars, but still needed a magical back nine to make up for a 49. He improved his play and shot a 42 on the front nine, but his overall 91 wasn't enough.
Junior Scott McKechnie finished with a 103, one of his worst rounds of the year, but got to that number with a 60 and a 43.
"I thought he could easily be in the 80s," Brecheisen said. "For someone who just shot a 60 on the front nine to still be mentally able to come back and post a 43 on the second nine tells me he was OK, he was just getting bad breaks or hitting a couple bad shots.
"I don't think they ever quit because of the way they finished. They kept plugging along and gave us their best shot and it just wasn't quite good enough."
Alex Crall finished with a 92 and Charlie Modereger had a 94. Senior Matt Woywod finished at 96.