Cougars crack 300
Rare team score leads SMNW to Olathe East title
It wasn't just a win. It was a landmark win.
The Shawnee Mission Northwest boys golf team, with three golfers shooting 72s, defeated 11 other teams last Wednesday at Overland Park Golf Club to earn the championship of the Olathe East Invitational.
While doing so, the Cougars broke the 300 mark in their team score, stroking a 299. For high school golf, it's a feat akin to hitting the cycle for a Major League Baseball player.
"You break 300, it just doesn't happen very often," said Northwest coach Jim Bamberg. "It's quite an accomplishment."
Senior Scott Goodger led the way for the Cougars, finishing in third place with his 72. Directly behind him in fourth was freshman David Catt, who also fired a 72. Senior Josh Weems rounded out the trio of Northwest golfers with 72s, finishing sixth. The order was determined by a scorecard playoff that took into account handicap totals for each golfer.
Bamberg felt that his team was confident going into the meet, knowing that the round was to be played at the course the team practices on every Wednesday. With his golfers feeling sure about the greens, Bamberg thought his team had a chance to win.
"I think they really felt confident out there," Bamberg said. "Those are some of the truest greens we play. The ball is going to go where you think it is going to go. All three of our top guys gave themselves birdie or par opportunities on every hole. A lot of them were able to two-putt and get par. Catt birdied 15 and 16 and near-birdied 17 and 18, or else he would have been at 70.
"The key was that they were just finding the green with their second shot."
Bamberg's Cougars and the rest of the teams on Wednesday battled stiff wind gusts that made tee judgement paramount.
"It was pretty windy," Bamberg said. "It's a pretty well-played course. If you can keep it in play, you can score. We played from the black tees, which might have helped our kids because it might have taken the bunkers out of play."
One of the surprises for Bamberg and the Cougars on Wednesday was the play of Goodger. Goodger's brother David is currently the Cougars No. 2 golfer, but it was brother Scott who took the spotlight in Overland Park.
"Scott was a pleasant surprise," Bamberg said. "He's a gamer. He's been a football player for us, too. When it's game time or tournament time he turns it on."
With new names popping atop the Cougars' leaderboard, Bamberg has discovered a growing sense of confidence with this team and believes Northwest has the personnel to be reckoned with at the end of the season.
"I really feel like I've got six kids who can shoot in the 70s at any time," Bamberg said. "I've got two who are doing it all the time and then there's a smorgasbord of guys who can do it."
After the Olathe Northwest meet at Heritage Park on Tuesday, the Cougars will travel to Hutchinson on Friday for the Hutchinson High meet at Casey Park. Golfers are scheduled to tee off at 8 a.m. in Hutchinson.