Rain doesn’t dampen Marion Co. Invitational

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF & TOM STOPPEL
Battling cool, cloudy weather mixed with afternoon showers-not to mention some pretty stiff competition-Marion and Hillsboro placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 16-team Marion County Invitational Golf Tournament on Friday.

The unique format has half the teams playing 18 holes at either Hillsboro or Marion in the morning, then switching courses for the afternoon for another 18 holes.

“The Marion County Invitational was a huge success, even with the weather,” said Marion coach Rex Ostmeyer who co-directed the tournament with Hillsboro coach Scott O’Hare.

“Had the rain stayed away for the afternoon round as well, it wouldn’t have been too bad,” added O’Hare. “It was cool but it wasn’t uncomfortable if they stayed dry. Unfortunately, we got a little rain for the first seven to nine holes in the afternoon group that didn’t help the conditions any.”

Topeka Hayden won the team championship with an overall score of 605 over 36 holes. The Wildcats’ score of 301 in Hillsboro and 304 in Marion were the best on each course.

Hesston finished 15 strokes behind Topeka Hayden at 620 (310/310). Marion followed at 652 (319/333) while Hillsboro finished at 660 (323/337).

Following them were Wichita Trinity (664, 316/348), Cheney (674, 334/340), Concordia (676. 334/342), Council Grove (699, 337/362), Circle (701, 349/352), Chapman (706, 342/364), Halstead (733, 361/372) and Sacred Heart (737, 368/369).

In the race for individual medals, Hayden’s Riley Piles and Josh Thompson finished 1-2 at 149 (72/77) and 150 (77/73), respectively.

Hillsboro freshman Elliott Soyez placed third only two strokes behind Piles with a 151 (79/72). His 72 at Marion was the best score of the day.

“Elliot shot very well at Marion in the morning,” O’Hare said. “Actually, he played pretty decent (at Hillsboro) for most of the round, but late in his round he hit one out of bounds over at Hole 7 that cost him a couple of strokes.Without that, he would have been right there in contention to win the overall 36-hole.”

Setting the pace for Marion were Luke Gordon, who placed 10th at 159 (78/81) and Travis Hett, who finished 12th at 160 (79/81).

“Luke Gordon played very well,” Ostmeyer said. “Finishing 10th overall for this tournament, for a freshman who is doubling in track, is pretty doggone good.”

Also competing for Marion were Jake Bredemeier (23rd at 166, 80/86), Keith Jones (29th, 170, 82/88), Zach Walden (47th, 179, 91/88), Chase Gordon (49th, 181, 96/85) and Paul Hodson (75th, 223, 106/117).

“I was pleased with our team score at Hillsboro-319 is pretty solid for us, and that’s with Travis not playing his best,” Ostmeyer said.

“We didn’t play nearly as well in the afternoon (at Marion), which was disappointing for our home course,” he added.

Contributing to Hillsboro’s fourth-place finish with top-20 scores were Andrew Bina (17th, 161, 75/86) and Justin Kent (20th, 162, 75/86).

Also competing for Hillsboro were Darren Enns (58th at 186, 92/94) and Zach Magnuson (72nd at 206, 100/106).

“I felt pretty good about finishing fourth out of 16 schools for a 36-hole total,” O’Hare said. “Obviously, that could have been much better if Andrew and Justin had played up to their potential over at Marion. They both struggled over there a little bit and shot in the mid-80s, which was the high score for both of them for the season.

“But then they came back here and both played pretty well and finished in the top 10 among the scores at Hillsboro.”

Centre had three golfers complete both courses, but did not qualify for a team place. Steven Hageberg placed 55th at 185 (97/88), Tad Remy was 77th at 233 (120/113) and Kacey Hanschu was 78th at 248 (124/124).

Hillsboro at Hesston-Hillsboro finished ninth in a 10-team field last Tuesday in Hesston.

Maize won the team title with a 309 score over 18 holes. Hillsboro finished with 353.

Tyler Rody of Andover won individual honors with a 74.

The Trojans had two golfers among the top 12 individuals: Elliot Soyez was 10th at 78, and Andrew Bina 12th at 80. Justin Kent placed 34th (86), Darren Enns 57th (109) and Zach Magnuson 58th (111).

Coming-Marion and Hillsboro were scheduled to travel to Ellinwood on Monday for the Mid-Central Activities Association league tournament.

On Tuesday, Hillsboro travels to Salina to play at the Sacred Heart tournament that was rained out April 28.

This coming Monday, both Marion and Hillsboro will compete for berths at state when they travel to Salina for the Class 3A regional tournament.

Joining the Warriors and Trojans will be Bennington, Halstead, Hesston, Sacred Heart, St. Johns Military, Southeast of Saline and Remington.

Tee-off is set for 8:30 a.m. at the Salina Municipal Golf Course.

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