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Larned's Conrad wins medalist honors
Prep Golf
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ELLINWOOD — Larned High’s Tague Conrad knew he had a good chance of winning Thursday’s Ellinwood Golf Invitational.
Those odds looked steep when Conrad’s tee shot nearly hit a spectator and landed in a deep ravine at the 232-yard 15th hole. His uphill chip shot flew down a hill into a deep bunker.
He took a deep breath then blasted out and converted a clutch par-saving putt. That sparked a 1-under back nine of 31 for a 5-over-par 69 that edged Sterling’s Michael Hendricks by one shot for medalist honors.
“I just popped it out of the bunker and tried to land it on the ridge,” Conrad said. “I hit a really good bunker shot and made a nice putt. That was a big shot for me.”
Sterling High shot 308 to edge Larned (311) by three strokes the team championship. The weather was perfect with temperatures in the 70s with a light breeze.
Conrad knew accuracy and a solid short game was required at the extremely tight Grove Park Golf Club. The par 64 course measures 3,970 yards with eight par 3s. The narrow fairways are well protected by dozens of trees. Several shots have to be struck at the right height to avoid the trees.
“This is a course where you put your driver away -- I hit it once and hit my hybrid the rest of the day,” he said.
He said his focus wasn’t sharp at the outset with six bogeys in his first eight holes. Fortunately, he trailed Hendricks by just two shots.
“It takes a while to adjust,” he said. “It took a while to get used to the small greens. The course was in good condition.”
Conrad earned medalist honors several times last year and was runner-up by one shot to Russell’s Jordan Hecker at Tuesday’s Larned Invitational.
Larned’s Michael Reece posted an 8-over 72 for third place. Dustin Bowman’s 92 counted as the Indians’ fourth score. The Indians’ 330 total was runner-up to Ulysses (312) in Tuesday’s Larned Invitational.
“I was very pleased that Michael Reece and Tague Conrad faced adversity early in their round and responded really well,” said Larned coach Mike Seeman. “I was very happy with our third man Matt Reason who placed top 10 for the first time in a varsity meet. That was huge for us. Our top three know they have to be competitive. When can post a good-looking number, it’s an ego boost.”
Seeman said every player reminded themselves of a stroke or two they gave away.
“Ellinwood is a good course to play because you have to be target specific,” Seeman said. “Tague learned that you have to commit to a shot and hit it. It’s good to see a reward for our team. We’re getting better and will keep improving.”
Ellinwood placed fourth with a 332 total led by Gavin Vink with a 78. Also counting were Jared Oelke (81), Ryley Ney (82) and Andrew Degenhardt (91).
Konnor Hickel placed sixth (77) to lead Central Plains to fifth place. Tim Demel (93), Brock Lawrence (94) and Dan Gunder (98) also counted.

Ellinwood Invitational

At Ellinwood, par 64



Team standings
1. Sterling 308; 2. Larned 311; 3. Hutchinson Trinity 328; 4. Ellinwood 332; 5. Central Plains 362; 6. Hoisington 396; 7. Nickerson 455.

Larned results
1. Tague Conrad 38-31 — 69; 3. Michael Reece 37-35 — 72; 7. Matt Reason 37-41 — 78; 21. Duskin Bowman 49-43 — 92; 35. Gabe Warrick 54-50 — 104; 39. Casey Carson 57-54 — 110.
Ellinwood results
8. Gavin Vink 40-38 — 78; 11. Jared Oelke 43-38 — 81; 12. Ryley Ney 42-40 — 82; 18. Andrew Degenhardt 48-43 — 91; 23. Colton Churchill 46-47 — 93; 26. Tyler Capps 49-45 — 96; 32. Alex Kowalsky 51-49 — 100; Trey Mozier 51--51 — 102; 38. Corbin Lawrence 56-53 — 109.
Central Plains results
6. Konnor Hickel 42-35 — 77; 23. Tim Demel 49-44 — 93; 25. Brock Lawrence 48-46 — 94; 28. Dan Gunder 51-47 — 98; 37. Clayton Ingham 53-53 — 106.
Hoisington results
27. Zach Younger 45-52 — 97; 28. Ryan Becker 51-47 — 98; 31. Matt Stacey 51-48 — 99; 33. Chris Crawford 56-46 — 102; 40. Luke Rios 58-59 — 117; DQ--Brooks Linsner.