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SPOTLIGHT
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HHS finishes third, qualifies in 5A

Published on -5/15/2012, 10:21 AM

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By ARNE GREEN

Special to The Hays Daily News

SALINA -- If Salina South High School's Ben Hargrave took one positive out of his round Monday at Salina Municipal Golf Course -- besides claiming medalist honors by six strokes -- it was damage control.

"I kind of found a way to do nothing worse than a bogey," Hargrave said after again struggling on his home course before rallying with three birdies on the last four holes to finish with an even-par 70 and a Class 5A regional championship. "That was my best thing today.

"When I played awful on the first 14 holes, I didn't have any double bogeys, so that was good."

By winning the tournament -- his third this year at the Muni and his second title -- Hargrave qualified for state as an individual. Newton won the team title with a four-man 312, followed by Salina Central at 322 and Hays High at 324. The Indians were paced by senior Aaron Stewart's second-place 76.

The top three teams and five individuals from non-qualifying teams move on to state next Monday at Alvamar Golf Course in Lawrence.

With his strong finish -- draining putts of 12 and 15 feet on 15 and 16, then two-putting for birdie on No. 18 -- Hargrave opened a sizeable gap against Stewart.

"I just tried to come in and play as well as I could and I did pretty well," said Stewart. "I tried to move hole-by-hole and did that pretty well."

Newton's Lane Pauls beat Salina Central senior Blake Cormack in a playoff for third after both carded 77s.

Hays High, which edged Great Bend by one shot for the final team spot, qualified for the fourth straight year with Stewart the only senior on the squad.

"Aaron Stewart really stepped up today," Indian coach Mark Watts said. "He's our lone senior and he played great.

"To be able to get back to state after losing so many seniors (from last year), I'm really happy."

The state meet is Monday at Alvamar Golf Course in Lawrence.

"We battled Great Bend toward the end of the year. They beat us the last two tournaments and got a lot better as the season went on," Watts said.

"Hopefully we can represent well at state."

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