TMP golf starts Tuesday
By KLINT SPILLER
The Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' golf team will start its season where last year ended -- the Sugar Hills Country Club in Goodland.
Monarchs head coach Bryan VonFeldt said he hopes to have a better time there this year than they had last spring when many of his golfers had off days, finishing ninth as a team at the Class 3A state championship.
"It was a pretty disappointing end to a good season," VonFeldt said. "It left a bitter taste in everybody's mouth."
TMP is scheduled to compete there at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The Monarchs will be without four members of its state-qualifying varsity squad but still return several golfers who saw significant time last season, such as seniors Kade Megaffin and Garrett Stoecklein and sophomores Max Megaffin, Lane Fisher and Dan O'Connor.
Senior Kade Schmidt missed his junior season because of an injury, but VonFeldt said he will be in the competition for a varsity slot this year.
"I've seen the most improvement out of him in the last two weeks of practice than I have in the last four years," VonFeldt said of Schmidt. "In the last three weeks, something clicked. We've taken a huge step toward making him a serious contributor for our varsity squad."
VonFeldt also said he expects freshman Hayden Rohr, brother of last year's regional champion Brady Rohr, to make an impact this season.
But Kade Megaffin likely will be the one at the helm of the Monarchs. Megaffin, last year's top scorer returning from state, shot a 90 and tied for 35th.
"I'm really looking for Kade Megaffin to come out of his shell this year," VonFeldt said. "He has one of the best swings I've ever seen. He's one of the hardest workers on a golf course I've ever seen. ... He will be our leader this year, and he knows he needs to be."
VonFeldt said he expects there to be a stiff competition for the top six spots.
The Monarchs have qualified for state the past two seasons, placing fifth and ninth at state. VonFeldt, in his sixth year, said his golfers aim to return this season, which will be hosted this year at Spring Creek Golf Course in Seneca.
"They kind of know the expectations," VonFeldt said. "We compete to win every single time we go out. We've won regionals the last two years. I know they firmly believe that's not going to come to an end."