Lindsay Gentry was probably the only golfer at Alvamar on Thursday trying to overcome a home-course disadvantage.
Discouraged by her performance at last year's Lawrence Invitational, Gentry actually dreaded returning to Alvamar, even though that's where she and the rest of Lawrence High's golf team practice.
"Usually I play better than I practice," said Gentry, an LHS sophomore. "And since I played bad here last year, I wasn't looking forward to this. I was scared about playing out here."
She proved her fears unwarranted by carding a 42-43--85 to take fourth-medalist honors at the Lions' 14-team invitational. She tied Shawnee Mission South's Jamie Hansen but won the scorecard playoff.
"Everything just came together," Gentry said. "Everything just worked. I played well. I'm really pleased with an 85."
THE ROUND was the product of work Gentry has done with her father.
"My dad has been working with me," she said. "He's had me slow down my backswing. It gives me more control. That's helped me a lot."
Gentry has led the Lions in all their tournaments, and she admitted she sometimes felt the pressure of leading the team as a sophomore. LHS coach Charlie Lauts added to that pressure by saying in the preseason that Gentry would be one of the top golfers in the Sunflower League.
"I read that and couldn't believe it," Gentry said. "Oh, that's no pressure on me. Now I feel like I have to play well. If I don't, I get frustrated out there, I get mad. And I don't like to compete very much. It's kind of scary."
So naturally Lauts paired Gentry with one of the state's best golfers, Manhattan's Rachelle Tacha, who was medalist with a 41-40--81.
"I PURPOSELY put her with Rachelle," Lauts said. "I wanted to make her play better. I thought the competition would be good for her. Of course, if it hadn't worked, I never would have told her."
Thursday's showing certainly helped confirm Gentry as one of the Sunflower League's best. Only SM West's Brooke Hawkins, the third-medalist with a 38-44--82, placed higher.
"I don't think I'm the best," Gentry said. "I can do good and I can do bad. Once I start hitting consistently in the 80s, I'll feel better. I'm not there yet. I don't like it when people say you're the best."
The Lions finished 11th with a team score of 477. Manhattan won with 399.