BY JIM MISUNAS
DODGE CITY – Great Bend's Cole Streck played his best competitive golf of his career as he shot 2-over-par 73 for a runner-up finish (142) Thursday at the Kansas Junior Tour Championship at Mariah Hills Golf Course.
Streck finished one stroke behind Wellington's Lucas Scheufler (73-68, 141) who birdied four holes Thursday. Streck tied for second place with Wellington's Deitrek Gill (69-73, 142). Streck missed a breaking 10-foot birdie putt at No. 18 to force a playoff.
Streck's finish clinched a top 16 spot in the Kansas Junior Match Play Championship at Winfield's Quail Ridge Golf Course July 15-16.
"It's a little disappointing, but I haven't been in that position very often," Streck said. "I had a birdie putt at No. 18 to tie, but it broke a bunch and I missed it. It's a good feeling to put two good rounds together. I was right there."
Scheufler was posting his score a few minutes ahead of Streck, who still led by two strokes with nine holes left. Streck lost his advantage with a double bogey 6 at No. 13 and a three-putt bogey at No. 14 to drop two strokes behind.
"At No. 13, I hit my drive into thick rough and punched out," Streck said. "I hit my approach into the rough and double bogeyed. No. 13 was a tough hole into the wind."
Streck fired 2-under-par 69 Tuesday to tie for first place after 18 holes. Streck birdied Nos. 1, 6 and 12 and bogeyed one hole. He carded 3-under-par 68 at Carey Park last year.
"Considering the course, that 69 is best round that I've scored in a tournament," he said. "I hit most every fairway and 15 greens in regulation. It's a day where everything was working really good for me. I played pretty steady and made pars."
Streck was happy to perform his best at a major tournament.
"With spring season gone, I've been able to play better and improve," he said. "As the summer has gone along, my game has gotten more dialed in."
Great Bend's Brantley Baldwin shot 7-over-par 78.
JUNIOR TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
DODGE CITY, MARIAH HILLS G.C. par 71
1–Lucas Scheufler, Wellington, 141 (73-68)
2–Cole Streck, Great Bend, 142 (69-73); Deitrek Gill, Wellington, 142 (69-73)
3–Kameron Shaw, Salina, 145 (72-72); Giles Fredrickson, Topeka, 145 (73-72); Davan Smith, Dodge City, 145 (69-76)
25–Brantley Baldwin, Great Bend, 166 (78-88)
14-15 AGE DIVISION
8–Drew Heinz, Ellinwood, 176 (85-91)