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Indians place third in Garden City

By BRETT MARSHALL

Special to The Hays Daily News

GARDEN CITY -- Hays High School boys' golf coach Mark Watts left Buffalo Dunes Golf Course with as many different thoughts about his team's performance as one could imagine.

First, the Indians played better than they usually have on the wind-swept Dunes links layout that was buffeted with 20- to 30 mph wind.

That enabled them to place third in the 11-team Garden City Invitational on Saturday.

Second, the Indians are still chasing Class 6A Dodge City in the Western Athletic Conference along with another 6A school, Hutchinson, that nearly always seems to finish in front of the HHS team.

Third, Watts was happy that his team showed some balance in their scoring, as Ryan Unruh led the way with an 84 while Cash Hobson, Nathan Romme and Payton Ruder each shot 85s to give the Indians a team total of 339. Dodge City was first at 316 and Hutchinson runner-up at 337. Kaden Beilman's 87 was the lone non-counting score as the Indians played with just five team members.

"We're awfully young and today they played pretty consistent," Watts said. "The thing is, we're about four to five shots per player behind Dodge, so if we want to close the gap then we're going to have to get better."

Normally, the Indians would arrive and play a practice round on Friday and they did. But the wind out of the south on Friday was 30 mph and with the wind changing directions to the north, Watts avoided a full round of practice.

"With the least amount of practice we've had in many years, the fact we had everyone under 90 is a good sign," Watts said.

"The conditions as they usually are here, were really difficult. I thought we held things together reasonably well."

The Indians also finished ahead of potential Class 5A regional foes Salina South , Great Bend, Liberal and Goddard.

"We've got a lot of problems, but we've got some time now to fix them," Watts said.

Next up for the Indians will be their own HHS Invitational on April 15.