KGA Four-Ball Championship
Ty Sanders and Cameron Bishop have been in this position before: Just one team and 36 holes stands between them and the Kansas Golf Association Four-Ball Championship.
The Wichita State golfers are looking for a change of fortune this time around, however, when they tee off at 7:30 a.m. today on Alvamar Golf Course.
"The tee shot off No. 1. That's the only thing that matters - that tee shot on 1," Sanders said. "Never let your mind get ahead of yourself. We're thinking one shot at a time."
After defeating No. 11-seeded Keith Erickson and Michael Elafros, 5-and-4, Friday, Bishop and Sanders had to go through a pair of fellow Shockers, Brad Boan and Spencer Christian, but they knocked their teammates off, 2-and-1.
"Brad's one of those guys that, when he gets on a roll, he gets excited and begins to play really well, and that's what me and Ty knew," Bishop said. "They were playing really good today. It's a lot of fun playing with Brad and Spence."
Last year's runners-up were actually trailing after the turn, but Bishop came up big on the greens. Before knocking down a 20-foot putt on No. 14 to move to 2-up, Bishop made a 15-footer that broke about two feet on No. 13.
"The momentum before going into 13 was definitely on their side," Bishop said. "Then we took it over, and from there it was just, 'Grind it out. If they're going to win, make them beat us. Don't give away a hole or something like that.'"
Even those 15-foot birdie putts weren't satisfactory for Bishop and Sanders, who were practicing on the putting green following their semifinal victory.
"Well, when you play for Grier (Jones, WSU golf coach), that's what he nails you on," Bishop said of putting. "That's what he tells you to do all the time. 'You're never enough' is his term. So you've got to keep grinding and putts will start dropping. And they have been this week."
Sanders and Bishop will face a pair of Washburn golfers in John Robbins and Ryan Deutsch today. Robbins and Deutsch went through the No. 5 seed (Brandon Hermreck and Zac Potter as well as the No. 1 seed (Kyle Smell and Scott Willman) on Friday in order to reach the finals.
The Ichabod golfers defeated Hermreck and Potter, the 2006 Four-Ball champs, 1-up in the quarterfinals before beating Smell and Willman, 3-and-2 in the semifinals.
"What you've got to do is come out and make birdies out here," Deutsch said. "We did that today - enough at least."
This will be the first time in the finals of the KGA Four-Ball for Robbins and Deutsch, who have played and won several matches in the tournament the last several years.
Having to play Alvamar Golf Course twice for the 36-hole match will guarantee that Bishop and Sanders will tee off on the 18th hole for the first time in match play - having clinched all four previous matches before the final hole.
"Yeah, we'll finally get to see No. 18 Saturday," Sanders said. "Hopefully only once, though."