Jack Flynn 4th, Firebirds 3rd at league golf

Entering the final leg of the Sunflower League Championship in first place, Free State High sophomore Jack Flynn realized he needed a stellar round Wednesday at Alvamar Golf Course to win an individual title.

After turning in his score card with an 84 next to his name at the Lawrence Invitational, Flynn, who finished fourth in the league standings, said his dream began to unravel on the ninth hole. In the fairway off the tee, with about 150 yards to the pin, his approach went right. Then his chip flew the green. Finally, he three-putted for double bogey.

“That’s when I knew I wasn’t going to do that well,” a well-adjusted Flynn said with a chuckle.

Flynn began his round with a one-stroke lead on Olathe East’s Zach Spencer. Before long, he had another Spencer, Andy, of Shawnee Mission East, on his radar. Andy Spencer opened the tournament in ninth place, 12 strokes behind Flynn.

“I wasn’t really keeping tabs on him early,” Flynn said. That was before the surging Lancer, playing in the same group as Flynn, shot 2-under on the front nine. “He had tied me for first after the 12th hole… And he just never looked back. He had a great round.”

The best round, in fact. Spencer’s 69 won him the tournament by three strokes, as well as the league championship,

“I was hoping to win it, but I didn’t do that well today,” Flynn said, pointing to one facet of his game in particular. “I couldn’t make a putt. It’s just as simple as that.”

SME (932) easily captured the Sunflower League team title. Two strokes behind O-East entering the last stage, FSHS aimed to chase down the Hawks for the league’s No. 2 spot. However, Free State only took one fewer stroke than O-East at Alvamar and settled for third (981).

Free State junior Coleman Houk, easy to spot on the course because, well, most golfers aren’t left guards on their school’s football teams, shot a team-best 78. He said mid-competition chatter on the course indicated most of the Firebirds were playing to their potential.

“When we finished, I heard not-so-good things,” Houk added with a grin. “We just lost (out on second) by one. It was close.”

As it turned out, Lawrence senior Narito Mendez had a far more enjoyable day. He posted the best score among city golfers, a 74. That earned him sixth place in the tournament and pushed him from 14th to ninth in the league standings.

“Before the season, I wanted to take top 10 in the league, so I’m happy I slipped in at the last minute,” Mendez said. “I had some pretty bad rounds (in league play, with an 84 and 83), but I had a pretty good one today.”

Playing on the Lions’ home course helped, but so did playing in the same group as defending Class 6A state champion Andrew Beckler, of Topeka Washburn Rural (74, seventh after scorecard playoff).

Between Mendez, Dawson Dykes (80), Tucker Sutter (81) and Braxton Olson (84), Lawrence (319, sixth at the invitational) beat Free State’s Houk (78), Jack Junge (81), Flynn (84) and Hunter Dedloff (84) by eight strokes (327, 10th).

“It’s just bragging rights here,” Mendez said, “but they’re a good team, and they still placed third in the league, so a little better than us.”

Lawrence Invitational

Wednesday at Alvamar Public Golf Course

Team scores: 1. Topeka Washburn Rural, 296; 2. Shawnee Mission East, 305; 3. Manhattan, 308; tie-4. Blue Valley West, 316; tie-4. St. Thomas Aquinas, 316; 6. Lawrence, 319; 7. Blue Valley, 320; tie-8. Shawnee Mission Northwest, 325; tie-8. Ble Valley North, 325; 10. Free State, 327; 11. Olathe East, 328; tie-12. Olathe Northwest, 334; tie-12. Junction City, 334; 14. Blue Valley Northwest, 338; 15. Blue Valley Southwest, 348; 16. Olathe South, 350; 17. Shawnee Mission West, 353; 18. Shawnee Mission South, 355; 19. Shawnee Heights, 388; 20. Gardner-Edgerton, 391; 21. Shawnee Mission North, 445.

Medalists (Top 10) — 1. Andy Spencer, SME, 69; 2. James Henderson, BVW, 71; 3. Ryan Clatterbuck, WR, 72; 4. Cole Dillon, Manh., 72; 5. Colton Allens, SMNW, 73; 6. Narito Mendez, Lawr., 74; 7. Andrew Beckler, WR, 74; 8. Jake Goldman, BVN, 75; 9. Lucas McCalla, WR, 75; 10. Zach Karney, BV, 75.

City results

Lawrence — 6. Mendez, 74; Dawson Dykes, 80; Tucker Sutter, 81; Braxton Olson, 84; Cole Brungardt, 86; Garrett Wildeman, 93.

Free State — Coleman Houk, 78; Jack Junge, 81; Jack Flynn, 84; Hunter Dedloff, 84; Austin Kastl, 87; Matt Siler, 88.

Sunflower League Final Standings

(Three 18-hole rounds)

Team scores: 1. SME, ;932 2. O-East, 980; 3. FSHS, 981; 4. Lawr., 1003, 5. ONW, 1011; 6. O-South, 1028; 7. SMNW, 1031; 8. SMS, 1049; 9. SMW, 1119.

Medalists (Top 10) — 1. Spencer, SME, 233; 2. Lucas Jones, SME, 236; 3. Worth Blackman, SME, 236; 4. Flynn, FSHS, 236; 5. Ryan Thompson, O-South, 238; 6. John Sallaz, SME, 238; 7. Zach Spencer, O-East, 239; 8. Johnnie Norton, SME, 240; 9. Mendez, Lawr., 241; 10. Blake Allen, SMNW, 242.

City results

Lawrence — 9. Mendez, 241; 19. Brungardt, 254; tie-24. Dykes, 260; tie-26. Sutter, 261; 30. Olson, 266; 32. Wildeman, 275.

Free State — 4. Flynn, 236; 14. Dedloff, 249; tie-17. Siler, 253; tie-17. Junge, 253; 33. Kastl, 277.