By the time Seabury Academy golfer Reed Grabill took the course for a two-player playoff to determine second place in Monday’s Class 1A state golf tournament, he would have been happy no matter what happened.
He certainly wasn’t complaining with how things worked out, though.
After a shaky first playoff hole in which both players triple bogeyed, Grabill, who shot an 80 on the day, shot par on the next hole to beat Pleasanton’s Gannon Coffman for sole possession of second place in the tournament.
“I went into (the playoff) thinking that second or third is definitely OK with me,” said Grabill, a junior. “It was definitely nerve-wracking, but I just tried to stay focused.”
Despite 35 mile-an-hour winds with gusts up to 50 miles an hour, Grabill played steadily throughout the day but reserved his best play for the difficult back nine at McPherson’s Turkey Creek Golf Course, when he made up considerable ground to put himself in position for the playoff and led Seabury in its first state team berth in school history.
Fischer Almanza was second on the team with a score of 100, while Bill Gibbs shot a 102, Frank Depenbusch shot 116 and Brandon McCaffrey posted a 121.
“Top 10 was the goal for Reed, and he exceeded those expectations,” said Seahawks coach Eric Edwards, whose team shot a 398 to place 12th. “He came in and had a 40 on the front nine, which was the fourth or fifth best score on front side, but he came in with a 40 on the back, and that was really the tough nine. Only one kid beat him on the back, and that was the kid that won state with a 74.”
Grabill’s performance, meanwhile, represented a redemption of sorts after the player was disqualified during the regional competition a year ago under controversial circumstances — a decision that was appealed by Seabury but ultimately upheld, preventing Grabill a shot at competing at last year’s state tournament.
Monday’s outcome, though, certainly lessened the blow of last year’s disappointment, and entering his senior season next spring, Grabill has already set his sights on capturing a state crown.
“Obviously, I’m going to be looking forward to next year,” said Grabill. “The kid that won is a junior, as well, and same with the kid I was in a playoff with, so it looks like it’s going to be a pretty packed field at the state tournament next year.”
“But you want to play against the best, so it should be fun.”
Team-wise, the Seahawks will enter the offseason with a similarly bright outlook.
All but Gibbs return next season, and if nothing else, Monday’s tournament provided a dose of experience to a group that will look to make it two state tournaments appearances in a row in 2011.
“That was huge,” Edwards said. “They all understand what it’s like now and what it takes to compete at the state level. We’ve got almost all the players returning, and we’re pretty excited for next year.”