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TMP golf begins season today

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

The Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' golf team likely will have a familiar last name atop its scorecards this season: Megaffin.

Last year, senior Kade Megaffin led the Monarchs to a school best second-place finish at the Class 3A state tournament in Seneca, shooting a team high 81 to tie for 12th place.

In 2014, the torch is passed to Kade's younger brother, junior Max Megaffin. Max brings with him experience from the state tournament last year, where he shot an 87, but will have a lot of strokes to help replace as the Monarchs lost three of their six varsity golfers from a year ago.

Other than Kade Megaffin, the Monarchs also graduated Garrett Stoecklein and Kade Schmidt from varsity last season. Stoecklein's surprising 83, which tied for 19th, was instrumental in the team's runner-up finish in the state tournament.

"We definitely have some shoes to fill," said TMP golf coach Bryan VonFeldt, who is in his seventh year leading the Monarchs. "Max Megaffin, he started playing really well toward the end of last year. He was our two or three man last year. And we've got Hayden Rohr ... definitely looking for really good things from both of those guys."

Rohr, a sophomore, should challenge Max Megaffin for the top score each tournament. Rohr played varsity all of his freshman season and shot an 88 in the state tournament, which was a few strokes above his season average.

Rohr is the younger brother of former TMP golfer Brady Rohr, who tied for seventh place at the 2011 state tournament, helping guide the Monarchs to a fifth-place team finish.

The three and four spots will be filled by juniors Lane Fisher, another varsity returner, and Dan O'Connor, who only has limited varsity experience.

"Dan probably should have been (on varsity) but he was struggling, so he didn't play a lot of varsity down the stretch," VonFeldt said. "But I know he's gotten a lot better over the last summer and so far this year. We will definitely need those four to step up and play well."

Rounding out the varsity roster this season will be varsity newcomers Joe Heimann and Keynan Hystem, both juniors. Neither has played in a varsity golf tournament before but do have junior varsity experience. VonFeldt knows the two will need time to adjust to the varsity level, but with no seniors on the varsity squad, he also feels he has plenty of time for them to develop.

"I'm hoping for good things, but they will need several of these first few tournaments just to gain some experience and hopefully by the end of the year they can play well," VonFeldt said. "There are no seniors on the team, so I guess however good we can do this year, we will use it as a building block for next year, too."

TMP's varsity schedule gets underway this afternoon at Goodland.

The Monarchs will be going for their fourth consecutive regional championship and fourth consecutive trip to the 3A state tournament, which will be held at Cherry Oaks Golf Course in Cheney this season. TMP's regional will take place on May 19 at the Prairie Dog Golf Course in Norton.

"Our goals never change," VonFeldt said. "Our goal is to win regionals and make sure we bring some more hardware home from state. We will see how much better we have to get after these first couple of tournaments."