GARDEN CITY — With the majority of his team returning for the 2018 season, there are high hopes and expectations by Mark Watts for his Hays High boys golf team.
Saturday, battling chilly temperatures and windy conditions, the Indians provided Watts with a glimpse of how his team might fare for this spring’s campaign.
The Indians, led by junior medalist Tradgon McCrae’s 3-over-par 75, won the six-team Garden City Invitational by 25 shots over Guymon, Okla., with a four-man total of 321.
“It was a good day, especially considering the conditions,” Watts said after watching three of his players finish among the top five. “We played a practice round (Friday) and the wind was from the other direction, so to see the boys adjust was really encouraging.”
With a 9 a.m. start, the temperature hovered right around 40 degrees, but the wind was blowing at about 10-12mph, gusting to 15-20, making the wind chill somewhere in the low to mid-30s.
“We’ve played here before in this kind of weather, but this group has some experience and some real good golf knowledge, and I thought they handled the weather quite well.”
In addition to McCrae’s 75, Allen Zollinger and Peyton Kieffer shared the fourth spot with 80s while Josh Norris tied for 10th with an 86.
Those four will form the nucleus if the Indians are make any noise later in the season in the postseason.
“We’ve got four solid players from last year,” Watts said of the four scores that counted. “The rest of our kids are pretty inexperienced and will need to be developed. For us to be pretty good, we’re gonna have to count on those four almost every time out.”
The remaining two players for Watts — Erik Kreutzer and Keaton Schlaefli — each shot a 102.
“Tradgon’s just a good all-around athlete,” Watts said of McCrae, who also is playing baseball this spring.
There must be something the junior likes about competing in Garden City after his performance back in the winter when the Indians basketball team blew apart Garden, 82-53, when McCrae hit nine 3-pointers and scored 39 points.
“He hit the first nine greens in regulation, so I know he was striking the ball really well,” Watts said of McCrae.
The Indians will travel to McPherson on Thursday for their next tournament.
Garden City Invitational
at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course (Par 72)
1. Hays High, 321; 2. Guymon, Okla., 346; 3. Garden City, 349; 4. Liberal, 355; 5. Dodge City, 363; 6. Great Bend, 376; 7. Garden City JV, 440.
Individual Top 10
1. Tragdon McCrae, Hays, 75; 2. Grayson Wallace, Guymon, 76; 3. Cameron Riley, Liberal, 78; 4. Allen Zollinger, Hays, 80; 5. Peyton Kieffer, Hays, 80; 6. Luke Gleason, Dodge City, 82; 7. Karson Horner, n/a, 83; 8. Mason Shaddix, Garden City, 83; 9. Cole Streck, n/a, 85; 10T. Tyler Morren and Aaron Schafer, Garden City; Josh Norris, Hays, all tied with 86.
Also: Erik Kreutzer and Keaton Schlaefli, each 102.