Shawnee Dispatch

MV's Hadden 2nd, SJA's Comer 6th in EKL golf

Mill Valley senior Bella Hadden tees off on the eighth hole at Swope Memorial Golf Course on Wednesday in the final round of the Eastern Kansas League tournament. Hadden finished as the EKL runner-up. Enlarge photo

October 5, 2017

— Golf legend Bobby Jones once said, "Golf is a game that's played on a five-inch course — the distance between your ears."

Mill Valley senior Bella Hadden was able to relate to Jones's quote on Wednesday for the third leg of the Eastern Kansas League tournament at Swope Memorial Golf Course. Hadden held a one-stroke lead over Blue Valley West senior Molly Saporito going into the the final round, but admitted that she wasn't mentally prepared to play the final leg since she was expecting it to be canceled due to the scattered rain and thunderstorms in the Kansas City area.

The Mill Valley senior got off to a rough start with three double bogeys in her first five holes. Hadden was able to recover nicely with four straight pars, but it was too little, too late since the round was cut short to nine holes due to inclement weather.

"I kind of expected it to get canceled, so I wasn't really in the mind-set of playing," Hadden said.

Hadden ended up finishing second in the EKL standings and tied for eighth in Wednesday's round after shooting 43 at Swope Memorial. While one of Hadden's goals for the season was winning the EKL, she said Saporito was very deserving. Saporito distanced herself from the rest of the field by five strokes with a score of 37.

"I'm really excited for Molly. She did a really good job today of battling with the rain," Hadden said. "She's going to UCM (Central Missouri), and I'm looking at that school. So we might be teammates later."

Mill Valley junior Sarah Lawson joined Hadden in the top 10 of the final EKL leaderboard after carding a 49 on Wednesday. Lawson tied for 22nd in the tournament's final leg, but her first two rounds helped her to a ninth-place overall finish in the league.

"She's improved a lot in the past two years," said Hadden of Lawson. "She's worked really, really hard and I'm excited to see what she can do at state. I feel like she can really help the team with our overall finish, and I think she can place really high."

Sophomore Hannah Davie also finished with a score of 49 to tie with Lawson and three others. The Mill Valley freshmen trio of Ava Van Inwegen, Caroline Lawson and Megan Haymaker finished in a three-way tie for 42nd after shooting rounds of 54.

"They've learned a lot. They still ask me a lot of questions, especially Ava," Hadden said while smiling at Van Inwegen. "They've improved throughout the season for sure just from playing every day. When I come back to watch them, I think they'll be pretty stacked since they have so much youth on the team and they can learn a lot."

The Jaguars finished fifth in the league standings with a team score of 930. St. Thomas Aquinas won the tournament by 20 strokes over BV West with a score of 836. Mill Valley placed fourth on Wedensday after posting a score of 347. Blue Valley West (295), Aquinas (324) and St. James (328) were the top-three team finishers at Swope Memorial.

Comer earns league medal for St. James

After placing ninth at the Class 5A state tournament last year and putting in countless hours of practice of the summer, St. James Academy sophomore Allison Comer had some high expectations for herself going into her second high school season.

Comer's first tournament of the season was one she'd like to forget after carding a 106 at Shawnee Country Club, but she has returned to form since. The St. James sophomore shot in the low 90s for her next two tournaments before firing respective rounds of 82 and 79 at the Olathe South Invitational and Lawrence High Invitational.

Comer had a setback on Monday with a round of 93 at the Free State Invitational, but bounced back with a score of 42 on Wednesday to finish as the runner-up to Saporito at Swope Memorial. Her steady improvement paid off with a league medal after finishing sixth in the EKL.

"I'm feeling really good," Comer said. "I practiced a lot this summer and this season, so it feels good to kind of get rewarded and I'm excited for regionals and state."

St. James finished one spot behind Mill Valley in the league standings after taking sixth with a team score of 943. The Thunder have had five different low scorers at tournaments this year between Comer, Sammy Hemke, Mary Kate Krebs, Kelly Duggan and Jane Grant (teamed up with Duggan to lead the Thunder in a scramble). Comer believes that the Thunder are starting to come together at the right time heading into regionals and state.

"We're kind of gelling together now, and it's been really fun these past couple of weeks kind of working together and seeing what everyone is capable of," Comer said.

Kelly Krebs (16th place, score of 46) and Grant (tied for 17th, 47) joined Comer in the top 20 on Wednesday. Hemke (tied for 27th, 50) and Duggan (tied for 36th, 52) rounded out the golfers who competed for the Thunder.

St. James and Mill Valley will turn their attention to the 5A regional tournament on Monday at Overland Park Golf Course. The Thunder and Jaguars will be joined at the regional by Turner, Leavenworth, Olathe West and Aquinas.

SMNW places fifth in Sunflower League

While the teams competing at the EKL tournament were able to get nine holes in on Wednesday, the final leg of the Sunflower League tournament at St. Andrews Golf Club was canceled.

Shawnee Mission Northwest ended up finishing fifth in the league standings with a team score of 839. Senior Cassie Gomer placed 10th to lead the Cougars.

Shawnee Mission North finished 12th with a score of 1,056. Katlyn Killeen paced SM North by tying for 21st with SM Northwest's Camille Haley.

Shawnee Mission East (680) won the league title by 57 strokes over Olathe Northwest.

Shawnee Mission Northwest and SM North will compete against SM East, SM South, SM West, Blue Valley North and BV Northwest at Monday's 6A regional at Brookridge Golf & Fitness.

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