SMNW golfers take 3rd at 6A regional
It wasn’t their best day, but such has been the nature of the 2010 Shawnee Mission Northwest boys golf team that even a sub-par day can yield great rewards.
Led by senior David Catt’s individual regional championship round of 71 Monday at Meadowbrook Country Club in Prairie Village, the Cougars compiled a team score of 307 – good enough for a third-place team finish and a berth in Monday’s Class 6A state tournament in Lawrence.
Northwest actually tied second-place Olathe East at 307, but the Falcons won the tiebreaker based on their fifth golfer’s lower total score. Olathe Northwest claimed the team title.
Catt became the third Cougar golfer to win a tournament this season, joining three-time winner Jackson Foth, a sophomore, and fellow senior Brett Dowell who won the Falcon Ridge/Olathe North Invitational earlier this season. Foth helped the Cougars with a fifth-place finish of 76 while Logan Coffman medaled and earned points for Northwest with his eighth-place finish.
Despite three top-10 finishers, Northwest coach Jim Bamburg admitted that Monday wasn’t his team’s best performance.
“It was not as good as we wanted,” Bamburg said, “but we still qualified. We have four kids who average in the 70s and two of them hit in the 80s today. Because of the rain, they (the Meadowbrook grounds crew) had not been able to cut the grass so, if you got in the rough, it certainly affected your shot. As the day went along, everyone thought the greens would get faster, but they actually got slower with the mist that we had in the afternoon.”
Bamburg is hoping that his players feel less than satisfied after Monday’s results and will use that motivation to get ready for state at Alvamar Private Golf Course in Lawrence.
“I hope this motivates us into playing to our potential,” Bamburg said. “We’ve been averaging 304 and we haven’t been higher than 304 this season. We broke 300 a couple of times. I told the guys that in 2007 Olathe South won state after barely making it out of regionals. I kind of used them as an example to our guys to say, ‘Hey, the pressure’s off us. Maybe now we’ll go down there without everyone looking at us as favorites.’”
The Alvamar Private Course will be a unique challenge for the Cougars who are a team adept at using powerful drives to shorten holes. The Alvamar course will force the Northwest players to make some adjustments to that type of game.
“It’s a very, very difficult course,” Bamburg said. “It’s very challenging. Our guys like to get out the driver every chance they get and they can’t really do that out there.”
The championship will be a homecoming of sorts for a couple of different Cougars. Senior Ryan McCarthy had his best ever high school round at the same course in 2009’s regional while fellow Catt is likely to see much more of the course in the near future. Earlier this month he became the first Northwest golfer in a decade to sign a NCAA Division I scholarship when he signed a letter of intent to play golf at Kansas University. In addition, senior Brett Dowell is looking at continuing his golfing career at Pittsburg State University.
With such heady accomplishments, the Cougars are looking for big things at state.