On a windy Monday at the Sedalia Country Club, the Smith-Cotton boys golf team opened the season with a fourth-place showing in a four-team event.
Warrensburg took first with a 165. Jefferson City’s 171 was good for second, Harrisonville was third with a 174 and Smith-Cotton carded a 185.
Three golfers shared individual honors as Harrisonville’s Ronny Baker, Jefferson City’s Andrew Hansen and Warrensburg’s Bailey Woods each shot a 3-over 38. Taylor Mankin was Smith-Cotton’s top individual with a 41 to claim fifth place.
Mankin opened his round with a pair of bogeys and a double before getting par on the par-3 fourth and the par-5 fifth.
“With the aerated greens and the wind, I’m just happy I didn’t play bogey golf,” he said.
The greens caused problems for quite a few golfers. Mankin said there was little consistency from green to green.
“I would have to either hit it really hard or just let it trickle in, and I didn’t know which was which at times,” he said. “You just had to guess. I wasn’t putting with skill. It was mostly luck.”
Sometimes that luck came from other golfers. On the ninth hole, Mankin’s approach was on the green about 15 feet past the hole. In the same group, Baker landed his approach beyond the green. Mankin jokingly told Baker to chip in from there to allow Mankin to get a better read of the green, and Baker did just that rattling in his chip shot.
“It was easier to see the line,” Mankin said. “With the sand, the line is kind of hidden for some putts. On the last hole, I told (Baker) to just chip it in and he did. I knew which way it broke and I just didn’t hit it correctly.”
Mankin two-putted that hole for a par-5.
Though his putter was causing him problems, Mankin was having better luck with his driver.
“I didn’t shank any, I didn’t pull any and I hit a lot of fairways,” he said. “That’s all I can really ask for. I usually don’t pull out driver on No. 8, but I was hitting it good so I decided to just go for it and I put it in a perfect spot.”
Tied for sixth with a 42 was Smith-Cotton’s Alex Lorenz who struggled with the putter, three-putting four different holes and missed several putts inside of 5 feet.
“From the beginning I wasn’t comfortable with the short putts,” he said.
Lorenz bogeyed the first three holes, then doubled the fourth before carding a par on the fifth. He followed that up with pars on six and seven before bogeys on the final two holes. He narrowly missed a par putt on the ninth after putting his tee shot on the par-5 hole in the rough. His next shot landed him back in the fairway 200 yards out and his third landed just short of the green.
Windy conditions caused some challenges to his game.
“I kept my drives down low,” he said.
Jacob Carroll shot a 47. Ryan Lefevers shot a 55 and Wyatt Foster carded a 56.