Monarchs ride momentum into 3A state finale
By AUSTIN COLBERT
Around Easter, Thomas More Prep-Marian junior golfer Max Megaffin went to Wichita to visit family. While there, he took time to play a round of golf at Cherry Oaks Golf Course in Cheney, host of Tuesday's Class 3A state golf tournament.
TMP golf coach Bryan VonFeldt isn't sure if that will give Megaffin any sort of edge -- the rest of the Monarchs will play a practice round there Monday -- but instead believes what happened in Norton last week will have much more of an impact.
"It may help him just a little bit, but the biggest help to him will be what he did at regionals last week," VonFeldt said. "He's had that potential all year and he has the drive to be that good. And now he realizes, 'Hey, it can happen. I did do some good things.' "
Last Monday at TMP's regional in Norton, Megaffin awoke from his season-long slumber to shoot 75 -- his all-time best score relative to par -- and win his first tournament at any level.
It was part of a dominant day from TMP, which won the regional by 18 strokes over Phillipsburg with four of its golfers finishing in the top eight.
"We definitely weren't playing our best golf coming into regionals, but we had a really good practice round. Everyone was focused in the hotel room and everything," Megaffin said. "The big thing was I hit greens and I didn't make any big numbers. My worst score all day was a bogey. As long as I can not make those doubles and triples and if I can just hit some greens like I did on that Monday, I'll be OK."
Now the Monarchs look to take this newfound confidence into Tuesday's state tournament, where they hope to finish what they started last year. TMP took second to Sabetha at state in 2013 -- played at Seneca's Spring Creek Golf Course -- a tournament it still feels like it should have won.
The best finish the Monarchs had last year was an 81 to tie for 12th by senior Kade Megaffin, Max Megaffin's older brother, a walk-on for the Fort Hays State University golf team. Max Megaffin shot 87, four strokes shy of medaling (top 20).
Hayden Rohr, now a sophomore and the team's No. 2 golfer, shot 88 last year and current junior Lane Fisher 95, the team's No. 3.
"I think there is still some disappointment from last year. We know that we could have won the golf tournament," VonFeldt said. "Max and Hayden, neither one played well. So I think they are going down this year, not just happy to be there, but they are going down this year to win."
Megaffin will be part of the tournament's final group on Tuesday, which tees off around 10:30 a.m. He will play alongside Cimarron's Charlie Pfeifer, Wichita Collegiate's Ian Trebilcock and Caney Valley's Troy Watson, all three the top-placing golfers from the other three regional champions in 3A.
Trebilcock, a sophomore, is the reigning Class 4A state champion for Collegiate, arguably the best golf program in the state at any level. A long time 3A school before spending the previous two in 4A, Collegiate has won state titles seven of the last eight years, with many more coming prior that.
But with confidence finally in place after winning their regional crown, Megaffin and the rest of the Monarchs are hoping to ride this momentum to the top of 3A.
"Last year I went in and I was really nervous. I was shaking all day and didn't play a very good individual round," Megaffin said of state. "It definitely feels good to go shoot a team low for the season at regionals, but we want to make it better. We are not satisfied with 333. We want to go win state."