LARNED — Larned High School’s Michael Reece enjoyed such a great day, he surprised himself and his head coach Mike Seeman.
Reece earned Class 4A regional medalist honors with a par on the first playoff hole after tying with Buhler’s Trevor Torgerson at 1-under-par 69 Monday at the par-70 Larned Country Club.
Reece dropped a 6-foot par putt on the playoff hole to beat Torgerson, who bogeyed his final four holes. Reece forced a playoff by dropping a 25-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole. It was a career-best score for Reece, a sophomore who played flawless golf except for two swings. He hit a tee shot into the trees at No. 4 and hit a tee shot out-of-bounds at No. 17.
Reece said he had confidence he could play well on his home course, but was pleasantly surprised by his score, which beat his previous tournament by seven strokes.
“It felt good to win today,” said Reece, who carded five birdies with a pair of double bogeys. “I was fortunate to have that same putt twice today. Trevor was behind a tree and got a little bit unlucky in the playoff. I played pretty good today, but I didn’t expect that type of score. My chipping and putting was really good today. I’ve worked really hard on my game. I knew I could do this. I just didn’t know when I’d do it.”
Larned’s Tague Conrad shot 8-over 78 to earn a berth in next week’s Class 4A state championship at Kansas City’s Dub’s Dread Golf Club.
“Michael winning a 4A regional with these caliber of players is unbelievable,” said Seeman. “Michael played an unbelievably good front nine. He had a great response from his first double bogey with a par and a birdie. Michael birdied No. 18 and willed himself into the playoff.”
Conrad said he never got any positive momentum going, but kept battling to capture a state berth.
“I didn’t feel like I played well enough to make state, but I made it,” he said.
The Indians finished fourth with a 328 team total. They also counted scores by Matt Reason (86) and Duskin Bowman (95).
Torgerson birdied four holes and carded an eagle at the par 5 No. 15 hole to reach 4-under-par. But he missed several shots down the stretch and bogeyed his final three holes.
With 75-degree temperatures and light winds, golfers enjoyed perfect playing conditions at the well-maintained Larned Country Club.
Class 4A team qualifiers were Buhler (298) and Hesston (302). Buhler also counted scores from Braden Schmitt (71), Quintin Henricks (77) and Tyler Heimerman (81). Buhler and Hesston have beaten each other two times this spring.
“Our team played their best golf of the season today,” said Buhler coach Brennan Torgerson. “Our team did a really nice job with their short games today. The guys played exceptionally well and finished their rounds today. It was truly a team effort.”
Ulysses had shot 312 in the Larned Invitational earlier this season.
“I expected low team scores today, especially from Buhler,” Seeman said. “I thought Ulysses would be right there for top two.”
CLASS 4A REGIONAL
Larned Country Club
Team standings (top 2 qualify)
1. Buhler, 298; 2. Hesston, 302; 3. Ulysses, 322; 4. Larned, 328; 5. Colby, 334; 6. McPherson, 335; 7. Pratt, 375; 8. Hugoton, 404
Top 10 individuals
1. Michael Reece, Larned, 33-36 — 69 (won playoff); 2. Trevor Torgerson, Buhler, 33-36 — 69, 3. Braden Schmitt, Buhler, 35-36 — 71; 4. Dylan Blosser, McPherson, 35-37 — 72; 5. Brady Buxman, Ulysses, 37-36 — 73 (won playoff); 6. Matt Thayne, Hesston, 37-36 — 73; 7. Brandon Swank, Hesston, 38-37 — 75; 8. Quintin Henricks, Buhler, 39-38 — 77 (won playoff); 9. Titus Ewert, Hesston, 38-39 — 77 (won playoff); 9. Kyle Perry, Hesston, 40-37 — 77
Individual state qualifiers
11. Tague Conrad, Larned, 40-38 — 78; 12. Paul Schifert, Colby, 41-38 — 79
1. Michael Reece 33-36 — 69; 11. Tague Conrad 40-38 — 78; 21. Matt Reason 47-39 — 86; 34. Duskin Bowman 48-47 — 95; 46. Gabe Warrick 54-58 — 112; 48. Casey Carson 59-55 — 114