When Blue Valley West boys golf coach Kevin Bandy saw James Henderson at the Hutchinson Invitational in early May, he could not help but laugh.
Not because Henderson was doing anything wrong, but because he was swinging so hard.
“He was just in the zone that day,” Bandy said.
Henderson finished that day with a season-best round of 68 at Carey Park, just two strokes off the tournament record, which Bandy said was set in the 1970’s. For that and other feats, Henderson finishes the season as The Star’s All-Metro boys golfer of the year.
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That day at the Hutchinson Invitational was the first of four tournaments this season in which Henderson finished under par. He also shot a 70 at Alvamar Golf Course, a 71 at the Nicklaus Golf Club at Lionsgate and a 70 that earned him a runner-up placement at the Kansas Class 6A state tournament at the Topeka Country Club.
“He doesn’t make many mistakes. Obviously he is a great ball striker and his short game is great, but what separates him from other players is his ability to think through a round,” Bandy said. “He doesn’t get caught up in a bad score on a hole. He can get through it, get ahead and stay focused on his game.”
Henderson also won the Eastern Kansas League golf championship and finished first or second in six tournaments this season. He had a season average of 75.
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The Star’s All-Metro boys golf team
James Henderson, Blue Valley West, junior. He finished first at the Eastern Kansas League tournament and was the Kansas City area’s top finisher at the Kansas Class 6A state tournament with a 70. He shot a 70, 73 and 71 to win the EKL title by eight strokes.
Preston Fleenor, Pembroke Hill, junior. After winning the district championship, Fleenor finished among the top-seven golfers at the Missouri Class 3 state meet for the third straight season. His seventh-place finish helped the Raiders win the team title.
Marc McClain, Bonner Springs, senior. He shot a season-best 69 to win the Kansas Class 4A state title. It was the seventh time he placed in the top five this season. He finished with a 75.1 stroke average.
Drew Sandburg, Tonganoxie, senior. Sandburg finished in the top three of all but one of Tonganoxie’s tournaments this season, including a runner-up spot behind fellow first-teamer Marc McClain at the Kansas Class 4A state tournament. His season average was a 74.7.
Nick Sobba, Park Hill South, senior. A William Jewell College signee, Sobba won two regular-season tournaments before placing third at his Missouri Class 4 district and sectional tournaments. He settled for 17th place at the state tournament, but his second-day round of 74 was the best in the state. His 18-hole average was a 78.
Andy Spencer, Shawnee Mission East, sophomore. The Sunflower League champion placed in the top 10 in seven tournaments this season and won three of them. He shot a 72 at the Kansas Class 6A state tournament, placed fifth and helped the Lancers win the team title.