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Megaffin leads Monarch golfers





As an upperclassman two seasons ago, Kade Megaffin, then a junior for the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys’ golf team, was given one of the better golf bags to use throughout the spring. And as he quickly found out, his younger brother Max, then a freshman, had taken a liking to this new bag.

“He decided he wanted to put his clubs in that bag. So I felt obligated to dump all those clubs out in the fairway and take my bag back. That didn’t end well,” Kade Megaffin said. “We’ve been at each other’s throats basically since this kid came out of the womb … I don’t think there was ever a legitimate fight, but we got pretty darn close a time or two.”

As much rabble-rousing as the two seemed to cause, it was all in the name of brotherly love. They have always been close, and it was Kade’s influence that even resulted in Max going out for the TMP golf team as a freshman, though he wasn’t entirely for it at the beginning.

Kade had always been the golfer and Max the baseball player, so when Max made the decision to join his brother as a golfer at TMP, Kade wasn’t necessarily excited about the idea. But as time went by, neither would have had it any other way.

“Honestly, if Kade didn’t play golf I probably wouldn’t have played golf my freshman year. I would have stuck with baseball,” Max Megaffin said. “He’s had a huge impact on me. Growing up I always wanted to beat him. …  I always played with Kade. I’ve never played without him. So it’s kind of a new experience. But I’ve tried to embrace it.”

Kade just finished his freshman season at Fort Hays State University, where he walked onto the Tigers’ golf team in the spring. As a senior, he led the Monarchs with a 12th-place 81 in TMP’s school-best second-place finish at the Class 3A state golf tournament in Seneca.

This season, the reigns were passed on to Max, now a junior, the team’s leading scorer by average heading into Monday’s Class 3A regional at Prairie Dog Golf Course in Norton. Tee off is set for 9 a.m.

The season hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as Max Megaffin or the rest of the Monarchs would have liked, and are coming off an especially disappointing third-place finish at the MCL golf meet in Smith Center on Thursday.

“We haven’t played well, especially for the last couple of weeks,” TMP coach Bryan VonFeldt said. “I know for a couple of them their confidence isn’t very high. We are a decent team and we hit the ball OK. Just can we put it together in time for regionals on Monday?”

Max Megaffin and sophomore Hayden Rohr — whose brother Brady helped guide the Monarchs to a fifth-place finish at state in 2011 as a junior — each average around 84 to lead TMP. Third on the team is junior Lane Fisher’s 87 and junior Dan O’Connor’s 91. Juniors Joe Heimann and Keynan Hystem round out the six-man team.

As much as the team has struggled, it feels it should be able to maneuver through the field in Norton. Also competing with TMP at the regional are Beloit, Ellsworth, Hoisington, Minneapolis, Norton, Phillipsburg and Salina-Sacred Heart. The top two teams and top five individuals not on one of those two teams will advance to next week’s state tournament in Cheney.

“We are kind of building for next year. We won’t lose anyone so we will have everyone next year. We all have a little pressure because we really want to do well,” Hayden Rohr said. “We just need to put it together on Monday. I know we can play well and we have the capability of doing really we as a team.”

VonFeldt believes his team should fair well as long as they play conservative and don’t make too many big mistakes. The Monarchs have won their last three regional championships and should contend for a fourth.

But with their confidence a little shaky heading into Monday’s regional, there is plenty to be wary about. Although Kade Megaffin, who spent Saturday afternoon hitting balls with the current Monarch golfers, knows what it takes to win more than anyone, and is doing his part to pass on this knowledge to his brother Max and the rest of the team.

“They just need to be patient,” Kade Megaffin said. “I think this is a group of guys that always wanted to be at that level as quick as they can. And it’s just a process. I hope these guys can stay patient and just kind of grind out this next couple of weeks.

“They can do it. They just got to believe in themselves and stay patient.”