The Smith-Cotton had five golfers shoot under 100 and three shoot in the 80s as the Tigers took fourth place in the West Central Conference meet on Thursday at the Sedalia Country Club.
Jacob Carroll shot an 83 to lead Smith-Cotton. Warrensburg’s Taylor Woods was the individual medalist with a 71. His teammate and brother, Bailey Woods, took second with a 76.
Carroll’s 83 came with a 41 on the front nine. He started the back nine with pars on the par-3 10th and par-4 11th but shot a 7 on the 12th and a 6 on the 13th, pushing his approach right of the green and three-putting.
He recovered nicely from that, shooting a bogey on the par-4 14th and a par on the 15th, hitting his first shot on the par-3 to the back of the green and nearly sinking a long putt before tapping in for par.
“I did all right on most of (the par-3s),” he said. “I parred most of them except for 4 and I never really par that so I was happy to make a bogey.”
Carroll did struggle with his driver.
“It was every which way, but I learned how to cope with it,” he said.
On the 14th he put his tee shot in the rough to the left of the fairway, about 100 yards out. He recovered with an iron shot to the fringe.
“I was really just trying to put it as close as I can,” he said. “My drive, I was fine with it because I knew it would be in an open area, but I just didn’t have enough club on my second shot.”
His 83 tied him for 10th place, making him second-team all-conference.
“I wasn’t playing stupid,” he said. “I played smart. I didn’t do shots that would really mess me up. I didn’t go for anything that I knew I had maybe a 3 percent chance of it going right. I just stayed calm and made good shots.”
The round came on a course that was still wet from recent storms.
“It was hard to get under the ball,” Carroll said. “That was a little difficult. We hit thinner shots than you would expect on a regular day.”
Alex Lorenz shot an 87. After going through the first five holes at 1-over, he double-bogeyed the next four holes.
“After that I just never really got any better,” he said. “I was getting mad at myself and I would just start messing up a lot.”
Taylor Mankin was in a similar situation after shooting a 46 on the front nine, capped off by three-putting the ninth, and following that with a tee shot in the rough on 11 and a lost ball on 12.
Smith-Cotton coach B.J. Curry said having that one bad hole and getting over it instead of having it lead to another bad hole is something his young team will pick up with time.
“A lot of that is just the experience of playing and understanding the game a little more,” he said. “They haven’t quite reached that aspect of it yet. They still think they can hit the best shot in the world every time, and in golf very seldom can we do that. They have to learn that it’s OK to make a bogey but it’s not OK to make a double bogey. Right there is where they’re struggling.”
Lorenz recovered by sticking his first shot on the par-3 15th just behind the pin.
“I hit a 6-iron,” he said. “It was only 150 yards but it was uphill. I hit it solid and it went past the hole.”
He nearly sank a 25-foot birdie putt before tapping in for par.
After Mankin lost his ball on the 12th, he recovered by putting a tee shot in the fairway. He was on the green two shots later and sank the putt. He finished the back nine in 43 to card an 89 on the day.
Smith-Cotton shot a 356 as a team, two strokes behind third-place O’Hara. Warrensburg was first with a 306. St. Pius X took second with a 317.
“I was pretty happy with our overall scores,” Curry said. “We’ve talked a lot the last week-and-a-half about course management, trying to lower the bad scores and eliminate the high numbers as much as possible. I think they’re starting to learn and they’re starting to get a little better at it. Hopefully this year they’ll learn and next year they’ll produce a little more.”
Smith-Cotton got two sub-100 rounds from players in their first varsity season — Wyatt Foster shot a 97 and Tyler Steger carded a 98. Steger’s round included a first hole that saw his tee shot land in the rough, but he recovered with a low shot to get back into the fairway, leading to a 5 on the hole.
“They’ve stepped up and played a lot better,” Curry said. “Wyatt and Tyler both improved a lot over last year. I think if you would ask them, their scores have dropped 5 to 10 shots easily and I think they have the ability to keep making it lower.”
The Tigers will play in the Class 4, District 5 tournament at 9 a.m. Monday at the Greene Hills Country Club in Willard. Curry wants his young team to gain the experience of playing in a tournament where a player needs to card a low score to continue his season.
“Some of them have experienced it and some haven’t,” Curry said. “To learn from that and to learn to deal with that pressure that it is an elimination. But if we play the way we’re capable of, then whatever happens, happens.”
Class 4, District 5 tournament
9 a.m. Monday at Greene Hills Country Club in Willard