Tebo chases elusive title in 2A tourney
By NICK McQUEEN
When Ellis High School senior Skyler Tebo won last week's Class 2A boys' golf regional in Atwood, he said he has never hit the ball as well as he did throughout that tournament.
He missed maybe three shots all day, and said one of them was his first shot of the day, teeing off on Hole 1.
The result was Tebo's fourth straight regional championship, something he hopes turns into his first state championship when he tees off Tuesday morning in the Class 2A state finale at Fort Hays Municipal Golf Course.
"I was hitting the ball in the fairway and on the green and making birdies -- made seven birdies," Tebo said of his regional round last week.
His first tee shot, he said, was the first time all season he had a few jitters, something he's dealt with the last four years in the state finale. He was fourth last year in 2A, ninth as a sophomore and third as a freshman in 2011. He is headed to Garden City Community College, and will golf for the Broncbusters.
Should Tebo come through with his goal Tuesday, he could become Ellis' first state champion since Chris Mickelson won in 1998.
"Just have to be confident what what I'm doing -- play my own game, and not think about it," Tebo said. "I didn't get a good first shot at all (at regional). After that it went away and I played really well."
Tebo has won his last two tournaments, the Mid-Continent League championship, and the regional title.
"He's pretty confident," said Ellis coach Matt Carroll. "He's hitting the ball really well, and he's just been able to stay focused for 18 holes.
"The high-pressure environment will be the biggest challenge," the coach added. "He'll have a little advantage sleeping in his own bed, and being close to home. And, he's familiar with the course."
WaKeeney-Trego Community senior Blake Huxman and Oberlin-Decatur Community sophomore Kelly Brown also could be among the top guys Tuesday. The two were second and third at last week's regional, just one and two shots back of Tebo's 72.
"If I play to my ability, I could get in there with those guys," said Huxman, who was 11th last season on Trego's Class 1A title team. "Can't really focus on what they're doing, I just have to concentrate on what I'm doing to shoot a good score."
Huxman, who said he plans right now on competing at Barton Community College, hasn't been out of the 70s in the last month, Trego coach Mark Pfannenstiel said. That included a second-place finish in the TMP-Marian Invitational at Smoky Hill Country Club, behind Class 4A standout Gage Ihrig of Goodland.
"Tebo is pretty salty on any course," Pfannenstiel said. "Huxman, being a senior, has just played outstanding the last month."
Ellinwood senior Jared Oelke (third last season) and Sterling senior Brogan Jones (fifth last season) also return, and could be in the mix for individual crowns.