Lawrence golf coach Mike Lewis knows that his golfers don’t play six-hour, waiting-around golf rounds outside of tournament play.
But he also knows they can deal with it.
“It’s a test of endurance when you’re out participating in any activity for that amount of time,” Lewis said. “They adjust. They get out there and they know that it’s something that’s basically out of their control. They just need to go hole-by-hole and try to stay focused.”
Lawrence High junior Taylor Covert and senior Kathryn Lunte battled the slow play and shot a 91 and 92, respectively, at the LHS Invitational Thursday at Alvamar Golf Club.
Their scores, along with junior Payton Covert’s 98 and sophomore Quillen Eichhorn’s 113, helped the Lions finish at 394 strokes, good for 10th out of 20 qualifying teams. Free State finished last with a 487.
Alyson Butler led the Firebirds with a 114.
Since the invitational doubled as one of three legs for the Sunflower League championship, the Lions find themselves sitting in fourth in the league standings.
“We were wanting to get off to a good start as a team. And sitting in fourth place right now, I think that puts us in a good position to possibly get in the top three in the next two rounds,” Lewis said. “We haven’t been at the top of the league for three or four years, so we’re excited to have that opportunity.”
Lunte said she hit her irons well all day.
“If something screwed me up it was my driver or putting,” Lunte said.
Lunte jumped on the green in frustration after a par putt on her last hole, No. 5, lipped out of the cup.
“She wouldn’t have won if I didn’t do that,” Lunte said of Covert, who shot 41-50 to Lunte’s own 47-45.
Lunte dealt with the slow pace of play by just trying not to focus on it.
“We had a lot of girls who couldn’t find their balls because the grass was really long, so we were looking for that instead of focusing on waiting,” Lunte said.
Covert said she had to wait more at the beginning of her round, which started on No. 9.
“My beginning score was much worse,“ Covert said. “It’s kind of frustrating sometimes.”
The directors of the tournament decided to enact the lift, clean and replace rule just minutes before the girls went out to their respective starting holes. Lewis said this helped a few girls shoot lower scores, but that the overall scores were about average compared to other year’s tournaments at Alvamar.
Overland Park St. Thomas Aquinas won the team competition with a 312, followed by Shawnee Mission East (334) and Blue Valley West (342). Aquinas’ Ali Kruse finished second with a 75 and Jordan Chael won medalist honors with a 72.
“We usually have pretty salty scores out here,” Lewis said.
The regionals haven’t been announced, so Lewis doesn’t know what competition his team will face to make it to the state tournament, but he thinks his team has a “realistic” chance of making it through.
“I really think that our team is learning to be a little better at competing,” Lewis said.
“I think we’ve got a lot of room to improve, so over the next couple weeks, who knows?”