Rockhurst golf coach Mark Nusbaum describes his team as a loose bunch, one that enjoys a little levity while going about the serious business of winning tournaments.
“They love to give each other grief a little bit,” Nusbaum said. “If there had been a trophy presentation, the high man would have had to accept the award, that type of thing. They have a good time.”
Of course, it’s easier to stay loose when you dominate Kansas City-area high school golf like the Hawklets do year after year. And had there been a trophy presentation at Monday’s Class 4 sectional tournament at Adams Pointe Golf Club in Blue Springs, they would have been the team picking up the hardware.
Rockhurst, with all five of its golfers placing among the top 10, had a four-man score of 309, 17 strokes better than surprise runner-up Lee’s Summit North’s 326. Both teams, along with the top 12 individuals not on the placing teams, advanced to next week’s Class 4 state tournament at Sedalia Country Club.
“Those were really good scores today,” Nusbaum said after the Hawklets posted five rounds of 81 or lower. “It has been like this all season. It seems like it’s a different kid each day that steps up.”
This time it was Greg Watkins, who shot a 3-over-par 75 and tied Lee’s Summit West’s Kerry Maguire for medalist honors. Watkins said he felt good about his game coming in, which helped him battle a chilly and blustery northwesterly breeze and some soggy conditions created by the weekend’s rains.
“It’s a good time to peak,” Watkins said. “I was pretty confident today, my putting was solid and I was hitting the ball well.”
Lee’s Summit North, which finished third in its district behind Rockhurst and Lee’s Summit West the week before, bounced back behind 81s from Michael Worth and Brian Hunt and 82s from Trey DeRousse and Gavin McDonald, who recovered from a 47 on the front nine and shot a 35 on the back.
“When they turned on the front nine, some of them were pretty discouraged with 41s or 42s,” Lee’s Summit North coach Kevin Harrison said. “I told them that was pretty much normal for the day. They came through on the back nine.”
Lee’s Summit West’s fortunes went the other way. After posting a 305 and coming within a stroke of Rockhurst at districts, the Titans struggled to a 333 and finished fourth. Maguire and Robert McKee, who shot an 82, were the only Titans to make it to state.
“We are disappointed that the whole team didn’t make it, but hey, you know golf is like that,” Lee’s Summit West coach Richard Myers said. “Some days you play good, some days you don’t.”