The maddening thing about high school golf is that you never know what type of score an individual is going to produce — be it day-to-day or hole-to-hole.
So when Great Bend High School head golf coach Troy Stein had two players — sophomore Maddie Werth and senior Tanisha Unruh — qualify for Monday’s Class 5A state tournament in Wichita, he had a couple reasons to be both excited and proud.
“To be honest, I kind of expected Maddie to make it,” Stein said. “She’s been playing pretty well the whole year and the last part of the season, she’s been our best golfer.
“Tanisha has been up-and-down a little bit. She’s been close the last couple years and I know she was excited to qualify, and I was very excited for her to finally get a chance to make it.”
The state tourney will be played at Willowbend Golf Club. Tee times have yet to be designated.
“We’re going to go up Sunday and play a practice round,” Stein said.
The disappointment of not having the team qualify was tempered by Werth’s and Unruh’s qualification.
“We had a good shot to make it as a team,” Stein said. “We had a few girls that didn’t play as well as they had been playing, but I really expected to have a couple girls make it.”
Werth carded a 107, and Unruh finished at 114 to finish in the top 14 at the regional meet.
“We’re focusing on not making mistakes and not having big numbers,” Stein said of Werth, “just hitting the ball in the fairway and getting on the green and making some putts.
“She’s been working really hard to get her swing into a groove, where it’s competitive, making the same swing every time, and just working on her short game, chipping and putting.”
Werth says her putting could be a key for her.
“It’s been the short game that’s saved me,” Werth said. “At the beginning of the season, my driving was not good at all. I finally just got that back and my short game has been going away, so that’s what I’m going to be working on for state.
Unruh finally closed the deal after coming up shy the previous two seasons.
“It’s kind of a relief,” Unruh said. “I’ve been close the last two years, so it’s awesome to actually make it there.
“The last tournament, I found a few trees, but Stein showed me how to do that (get back on the fairway), so it’s been working all year since I’ve had a habit of getting in the trees a few times.”