Beilman third, HHS second at home
By NICK McQUEEN
After shooting an 87 at the Garden City Invitational last week, Hays High School junior Kaden Beilman knew he had to work on the green.
He, and the rest of the Indian boys' golf team, spent much of their time in preparation for Monday's Bob Blazer Invitational on the putting surface.
The work paid off, especially for Beilman. The junior fired a 39-39, 78 to finish third Monday at Smoky Hill Country Club, leading HHS to a second-place finish on its home course.
"Just felt like all my tee shots were going where I wanted them to," said Beilman, who was also the top junior medalist in the event. "Really, pretty much every shot went where I envisioned it.
"The putting was pretty good today, just all-around felt pretty confident in my game today."
The rest of the Indians followed suit. Hays High's top seven golfers were all within seven strokes. Sophomore Nathan Romme finished with a 40-39, 79 in sixth place, and senior Ryan Unruh came in at 43-37, 80 in seventh to round out HHS' medalists.
With freshman Payton Ruder's 82, Hays High finished with a 319, four strokes back of Western Athletic Conference favorite Dodge City.
"I was hoping we would beat Dodge," Indian coach Mark Watts said. "That was a personal goal, because I know how good they are.
"We're capable of shooting this score," he added. "We hadn't show it (until Monday). We've been around 85s, but his is our home course, and this is what you're supposed to do on your home course."
The day started in windy, 45-degree conditions that didn't really improve until the final few holes. The weather, while not ideal, didn't really affect the top golfers.
Dodge City senior Zach Kirby shot a 39-34, 73 to win the individual title, with Salina South senior Ben Hargrave second at 37-38, 75. Goodland junior Gage Ihrig, the defending Class 3A state champion, finished fourth with a 41-38, 79.
"After anybody gets out there, it kind of just goes away and you start focusing on your game more," Beilman said.
Focus is something Hays High has not lacked so far. The Indians have had good competition one through seven.
Monday, junior Chase Lynd fired a 40-41, 81, but did not earn a medal as he was Hays High's seventh golfer. he would have finished in a tie for eighth. No. 5 and 6 golfers, sophomore Cash Hobson and junior Lane Clark, shot 84 (44-40) and 85 (46-39), respectively.
"There is some good competition there," Watts said. "We're lucky, so far, we've been able to take seven to most of the meets."
The competitiveness within their own team has helped make the Indians, with just one senior in Unruh, a better club top to bottom.
"We're always trying to outscore each other," Beilman said. "We're all right around the same area, so it's pretty easy for us to compete with each other.
"That pushes all of us," he added. "Every week, you really don't know who's going to be 1-2-3 -- really fun to get out in practice and compete for those spots."
Hays High will be without Ruder on Thursday when they travel to Dodge City. Ruder has prior commitments with other school activities.
Rough outing for TMP
The always tough Smoky Hill can be brutal if golfers can't keep the ball in play. Most golfers were in mid- to upper- 80s, and 17 100-plus scores were turned in.
The Thomas More Prep-Marian golfers, in just their second outing, had a few big numbers Monday.
"We haven't really had a whole lot of good practice time, and we're still young," Monarch coach Bryan VonFeldt said. "We just, flat out, need time to practice and hit balls."
In the middle of a busy stretch -- four meets in seven days -- the Monarchs were led by senior Kade Megaffin's 89, while the team finished with a 382 in 10th place.
"It's chilly and a little breezy, so it does make it tough to keep it in the fairway, which you have to do around here," VonFeldt said. "They all need to spend some time on the range. Our misses are too big."
Sophomore Lane Fisher shot a 49-46, 95 and senior Kade Schmidt fired a 50-48, 98. Freshman Hayden Rohr (100), sophomore Dan O'Connor (100) and sophomore Max Megaffin (101) rounded out TMP's scoring.
The Monarchs were slated to be in the Larned Invitational today, and at Dodge City on Thursday.
"Maybe (the busy) schedule will give the weather time to warm up," VonFeldt said. "Then, maybe we can get out there and hit it hard. Time is running out, though, and we know what we've got to do."