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Great Bend golfer succeeds 'Down Under'


BRISBANE, Australia — A golf trip across the world has broadened the horizons for Great Bend High golfer Brantley Baldwin.

Baldwin gained an appreciation of his mental game after spending 10 days abroad.

"A lot of what I learned is developing more mental strength," Baldwin said. "I've gotten tougher mentally when I hit a poor shot. Now, I have an understanding to come back with a good shot and still score a par. I've accomplished that better recently."

Baldwin earned the top gold medal after two days of qualifying in the low net (handicap scoring) in the Down Under golf competition. Baldwin shot rounds of 75, 85 for a 160 total that was rounded to a 140 net score that placed first among U.S. golfers.

Baldwin earned the gold medal (using handicap) after the completion of the two-day international competition. Baldwin’s grandmother, Karla Kirkman accompanied Baldwin. 

Brantley followed that with a runner-up 71 that finished two strokes behind Zachary Willard of Fort Worth, Texas, who shot 69.

The third course with water in play on 16 holes was Baldwin's favoriite after an eagle and two birdies led to his 1-under-par round. He crafted a perfect hybrid shot to set up a 12-foot eagle putt.

"That's my best round in competition," he said. "I credit it all to better mental strength. Already, I've shot a 65 at Lake Barton Golf Course."

Baldwin said he's sharpened his swing to maximize his iron play.

"My biggest key was I started hitting my irons consistently straight at the right distance," he said. "I've learned to refine my regular swing. Now, I feel confident knowing I can shoot those type of low scores."

The trip required more than 20 hours of travel time and is 15 hours ahead from central time.

"It takes a couple day to adjust," Baldwin said. "You encounter fatigue."

Adjusting to cooler temperatures was easy. It's the "winter" season, although it's generally warm in Australia.

"It was 70 degrees during the day, so it felt pretty cool from I came from,' he said. "It took about a day to adjust. It's a little drier air than I'm used to."