Hillsboro and Marion were good hosts, but struggled to compete against a strong field of teams at the Marion County Invitational Friday.
The tournament’s unique format had the field of 15 schools form two groups. Each group played 18 holes at the home courses of both schools, switching locations after lunch.
Hillsboro combined for a 36-hole team score of 785, which was 134 strokes behind the winning team from Andale and placed them 11th overall. The Trojans shot a team score of 391 on their home course, good for 11th place, and a 394 at Marion, good for 10th.
“I have mixed feelings about how we performed during the 36-hole tournament,” coach Scott O’Hare said, citing inconsistency as a key reason.
Andrew Meier carded Hillsboro’s best individual score for the day, combining an 88 at Hillsboro with a 99 at Marion for a 36-hole total of 187 to place 38th among 77 golfers.
“Andrew struggled at Marion in the morning, posting one of his highest scores of the season,” coach Scott O’Hare said. “However, he followed that up with his best round of the season in the afternoon, shooting an 88 on our own course, including a solid 43 on the back nine.”
Evan Ollenburger was right behind Meier with a 188 (98, 90) to place 40th.
“Evan had a decent round going over at Marion in the morning, but just wasn’t quite able to finish it strong.” O’Hare said. “However, he posted a couple higher numbers early on at Hillsboro and was just never able to get back to feeling comfortable.
“I believe he is very close to breaking out with some good numbers. He just needs to put it all together for one solid round.”
Also competing for Hillsboro’s four-man team were Graham Pankratz with a 196 (99, 97) for 48th and Phillip Ediger with a 214 (106, 108) for 61st.
“If there was one bright spot, it would have to be the performance of Graham Pankratz,” O’Hare said. “He has been struggling to break 100 for the first time. He finally did on Friday morning with a 97 at Marion, including a season-low back nine of 45.
“Philip played both courses just a little above his average for the season,” he added.
The winning individual score for the tournament was 155 (75, 80) by Daniel Carney of Andale.
Halstead—Evan Ollenburger tied for the sixth-best individual score with an 89, leading the Trojans to a fourth-place team finish at the Halstead Invitational last Tuesday.
The Trojan junior finished 11 strokes behind the tournament winner, Taylor Nemeth of Halstead, with a 78.
“He was hitting the ball pretty well all day and just struggled around the greens on a few holes,” coach Scott O’Hare said. “The only disappointment for him was the 8 he took on the final hole of the tournament. He had avoided big numbers all day, but hit one out of bounds on the last hole, costing him a two-stroke penalty.”
Hillsboro’s Andrew Meier tied for the eighth-best score with a 90, his lowest round of the season.
Also competing for the Trojans was Phillip Ediger, who carded his lowest round with a 100; Graham Pankratz finished at 110.
Sterling JV—Braden Truitt finished second in the nine-hole tourney April 29 with a 47, four strokes off the lead. Ediger carded a 49 for sixth and Stephen Brazil placed 20th at 64.
Coming—The Trojans were scheduled to compete at the Central Kansas League tournament Tuesday, then will prepare for the Class 3A regional Monday at Marion.
“Hopefully, we can get a few nice days of practice in leading into the CKL and regional tournaments,” O’Hare said. “I believe these guys are so close.
“With a few adjustments and additional practice time to gain more confidence and feel for the game, they could all have a nice finish to the regular season.”