The first time Hays High’s golf team played Smoky Hill Country Club this season, senior Taylor DeBoer edged out teammate Katie Brungardt for first place, but Brungardt earned a split at Monday’s Thomas More Prep-Marian Invitational.

Brungardt earned the first-place medal with a round of 82, while DeBoer took third after dropping a scorecard playoff against TMP’s Karee Dinkel.

“I was glad to see Katie get a win, and Taylor did awesome with an 85,” Hays High coach Kelli Karlin said.

The junior played a superb back nine. After shooting 43 of the front nine, Brungardt shaved off four strokes over the final nine holes.

The key to the win was the way she approached some difficult situations.

“Katie did some really good course management things today,” Karlin said.

The coach cited the ninth hole as an example. Brungardt’s drive landed out of bounds, and she pulled her second shot, leaving a difficult approach. She conservative played her approach short and ultimately saved herself a stroke by holing out from just outside the green.

DeBoer conceded her top spot on the team due to a few double bogeys, mostly the result of missed putts. DeBoer was also playing with a little extra pressure, as her and Dinkel played in the same group.

“I think that wears on you after 18 (holes) when you know you’re going No. 1 against No. 1,” Karlin said.

The senior got off to a great start, shooting 38 on the front nine, but added nine strokes on the back.

As has been the case for much of the season, a pair of inexperienced freshman rounded out the Indians’ team score. Emily McGuire carded a 109, while Brittany Park submitted a 126. Both McGuire and Park are new to competitive golf but have shown rapid growth.

“The beginners have really improved in my opinion,” Karlin said.

“Their attitudes are great. They’re hard workers.”

The Indians play again today at a nine-hole tournament in Great Bend before Monday’s regional tournament in Goodland. Hays High has made a weekend trip to Sugar Hills Country Club to get a preview of the regional course.

With her team figuring to be on the fringe of qualifying for the 4A state tournament as a team, Karlin is looking for strong showings from all four golfers at Monday’s regional

“I’m ready and I hope they’re ready,” the coach said.