The 33rd annual McPherson City Golf Tournament produced the most dramatic finish in the history of the event on Sunday at Turkey Creek.
Granted, there have been four playoffs to determine the champion in the past (I was in one of those and it had little drama as the late Ray Hague blitzed me).
But never had the tournament been won on the final hole.
Teen-ager Jacob Lackey, entering his final year at McPherson High, drained a 30-foot eagle on the 18th hole just as darkness was setting in to outlast five-time defending champion Treg Fawl, who was seeking his seventh individual title overall.
It was great theatre as the smattering few who stayed around through the endless day were rewarded. The last group of the day didn’t go off until nearly 4:00 due to a rain delay and play moved at a snail’s pace, with sometimes three groups on a hole. Had the decision not been made to send groups off both tees after the rain delay, we would not have been treated to such drama.
I was playing two groups in front of the Lackey-Fawl pairing, so I had little idea what was transpiring behind me. I only wish I could have been a witness to the terrific golf they played. The rain made the course play longer, but for these two it was still a pitch-and-putt given their tremendous length. It really is ridiculous how far these guys hit it and it’s a different game than most of the rest of us play.
The rain also made it difficult on the short putts as by the time 70 players had finished in front of them, the greens were pretty well beat up around the cup.
For Lackey, this past week has to be a tremendous boost for his confidence. He’s put his Class 4A State Tournament disappointment behind him and played well on the summer circuit. He had a breakthrough last week at Hesston, scorching the course for a 5-under-par 66 to win the Hesston Junior Open.
But this championship will mean even more. He now carries the title of “the best player in town” for the next year and he knows he can now close the deal against the best there is as Fawl is a former Kansas Amateur match-play participant. Lackey’s biggest drawback in high school tournaments when he didn’t play well was the blow-up hole, but he avoided that in the three days this weekend.
Friday’s round at McPherson Country Club proved once again there’s no tougher nine-hole course in Kansas. Only four players managed to break 80 and four more hit that mark on the nose. The course was probably set up as easily as I’ve seen it with no silly pin placements. And because of the blistering heat we’ve had, course super Greg Jermark had to leave the greens a little longer than normal so they wouldn’t burn up. So golfers could hardly blame the course for the high scores as it was a fair test.
Saturday’s round at Rolling Acres, for the morning groups, proved to be a survival. Like Sunday’s final round, it took more than 4 1/2 hours to play because of the par-5s that could be reached in 2 as well as two par-4s that the big hitters could drive.
Once again there should be a special shout-out to course supers Jermark, Jason Buschbom and Morris Mills for having the courses in top-notch shape. Their jobs were made even more difficult by the extreme heat we’ve had, but I didn’t hear any complaints this weekend.
Also, Dennis and Nanci Shaw once again did a splendid job of running the tournament and having run it for nearly 20 years myself I can tell you it’s a thankless job. There’s a lot of work behind the scenes involved and those scoresheets and pairings just don’t appear out of thin air. If you played in the tournament and see Dennis or Nanci, let them know how much their time and effort is appreciated.
It was great to see the field up by nearly 20 players this year as 74 took part. It’s still behind the halcyon days of when we had 88 to 92 players, but a tournament is only as good as its participation. It looks as though the tournament is still healthy and will continue for years to come.
Jacob Lackey and Treg Fawl kept playing back-and-forth with the lead during the final round of the 33rd annual McPherson City Golf Tournament on Sunday at Turkey Creek.
As both golfers said afterward, “we took turns trying to give it to each other.”
But during the birdie-fest that ended in the gloaming as the tournament was delayed by rain, it was an eagle that determined the winner just before 9 p.m.
On the 18th hole, no less.
Lackey, the senior-to-be at McPherson High, ran in a dramatic 30-footer on his last stroke for a final-round 70 and one-shot victory over Fawl, who was attempting to win his record sixth straight City title and seventh overall.
“It feels pretty good,” Lackey said. “It was a lot of fun and he’s a really good player. We both had some hiccups down the stretch and were trying to give it to each other. He had a couple of shots where he could have got up and missed short putts and I did the same. So it went all the way down to the wire.”
Lackey, who earlier in the week had won the Hesston Junior Open with a 5-under-par 66, had four birdies and four bogeys on his final round.
He had posted earlier rounds of 76 at McPherson Country Club and 68 at Rolling Acres. Fawl, who was fighting his putter all weekend, shot 77 and 67 as the two were deadlocked going into the final round.
“I didn’t lose it, he won it,” a gracious Fawl said.
Chris Stucky matched the best score of the day with a 69 and finished in third with 221, the second straight year he has taken third. Kelly Sorenson had the other 69 as he won the First Flight.
Lackey also combined with high school teammate Casey Cheek to win the two-man division with a 207, which included a 68 on the final day. They finished two shots up on Fawl and his father, Tony, who shot 71.
Here are the winners, with a scorecard playoff determining ties:
• INDIVIDUAL •
• Championship Flight •
1. Jacob Lackey, 76-68-70-214. 2. Treg Fawl, 77-67-71-215. 3. Chris Stucky, 80-72-69-221.
• First Flight •
1. Kelly Sorenson, 83-80-69-232. 2. Kenan Warren, 75-87-79-241. 3. Jamie Piper, 89-76-80-245.
• Second Flight •
1. Daniel Mitchell, 93-74-73-240. 2. Gary Hess, 92-76-84-252. 3. Scott Davis, 87-80-87-254.
• Third Flight •
1. Casey Cheek, 94-78-80-252. 2. Gordon Reimer, 88-83-84-255. 3. Brett Bate, 88-83-85-256.
• Fourth Flight •
1. Maury Hoefer, 86-88-77-251. 2. Mark Wash, 92-83-76-251. 3. Jeff Warren, 85-89-87-261.
• Fifth Flight •
1. Colby Geren, 97-86-91-273. 2. Bill Gately, 99-83-91-273. 3. Sam Williams, 93-89-92-279.
• Sixth Flight •
1. Kevin McKean, 102-93-96-291. 2. Jim Adams, 98-91-104-293. 3. Ron Hamilton, 105-86-103-294.
• TEAM •
* Championship Flight •
1. Jacob Lackey-Casey Cheek, 72-67-68-207. 2. Treg Fawl-Tony Fawl, 73-65-71-209. 3. Chris Stucky-Jason Buschbom, 72-70-68-210.
• First Flight •
1. Kelly Sorenson-Alan Porter, 77-74-66-217. 2. Daniel Mitchell-Mark Wash, 80-72-66-218. 3. Jamie Piper-Monty Koehn, 81-71-74-226.
• Second Flight •
1. Gordon Reimer-Zack Lock, 81-74-75-230. 2. Gary Hess-Bill Gately, 82-72-76-230. 3. Jason Shober-Maury Hoefer, 82-73-75-230.
• Third Flight •
1. C.W. Reiman-Sam Williams, 84-77-81-242. 2. Morris Mills-Noel Eshelman, 84-76-86-246. 3. Vaughan Burch-Travis Burch, 87-77-87-251.
McPherson American Legion Post 24’s chance to avenge its only loss in the Hooper Showcase Baseball Tournament was spoiled by the rain on Sunday at Grant Complex.
After defeating Hays 5-3 in a terrific game Sunday that ended just before noon, the sky opened up and play was cancelled for the rest of the day after just three games were completed.
Post 24 had finished pool play 2-1, the only loss to Paola 8-7 on Saturday after it had led 6-0. It was to have played Paola in the 2 p.m. rematch.
At least McPherson was able to secure an important victory as the Hays game Sunday morning had a championship feel.
“That was fun,” said McPherson coach Tony Schmidt, whose team is now 14-2 on the year. “I’m glad we didn’t get nipped again. We needed to beat a good team and those guys are good. I’ve never seen so many foul balls hits. Out of (Caleb Schmidt’s) 62 pitches, Scott (assistant coach Graham) said at least 25 were foul balls.”
Cody Starkel gave Post 24 a 2-0 lead when he crushed a monstrous two-run homer in the first, only to see Hays come right back with two runs.
After the Eagles took the lead with a run in the third, McPherson retaliated with two runs in the fourth for a 4-3 lead, with “small ball” again paying off as Post 24 took advantage of two errors and ran the bases well. In the seventh, McPherson scored another run on a double by Marcus McDaniel.
Schmidt worked only 2 1/3 innings, but the bullpen was marvelous. Jacob Loecker unfurled 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief before walking the first two batters in the seventh. McDaniel came on and the first batter sacrificed the runners to second and third. But he was able to work out of the jam to preserve the win.
Schmidt was very pleased with the work of his relievers.
“I’m going to say this and you can quote this — Loecker is sloppy, but almost always gets the job done,” he said with a laugh. “He has pitched really well for us all year and he did a great job today. Marcus is the guy we wanted to have in there in that situation because he wants to win. He’s a great competitor.”
Werries and Schmidt had two hits apiece for Post 24.
In the other completed games on Sunday, the Mo-Kan Giants hammered Arkansas City 10-2 and Wabaunsee knocked off Bonner Springs, 9-4.
Paola and Great Bend were the only two teams that had completed pool play with 3-0 records.
• McPherson (5) — McDaniel 4-0-1-1, Werries 3-1-2-0, Starkel 3-2-1-2, Kalkhorst 4-0-1-1, Eilts 0-1-0-0, Schmidt 3-0-2-1, Loecker 3-0-0-0, Saverino 2-1-0-0, K. Reed 2-0-0-0, J. Reed 3-0-0-0, Wheat 0-0-0-0, Sitts 0-0-0-0.
• Saturday’s Box vs. Paola •
McPherson (7) — Schmidt 4-0-0-0, Werries 2-1-0-0, McDaniel 4-3-2-1, Starkel 4-1-1-1, Kalkhorst 3-1-2-1, Steinert 01-0-0, Eilts 0-0-0-0, Loecker 3-0-1-0, Myers 2-0-0-0, Saverino 1-0-0-0, J. Reed 4-0-1-1, Sitts 4-0-1-0.
• Friday’s Box vs. Bonner Springs •
McPherson (11) — Schmidt 2-2-0-0, Werries 3-2-1-0, McDaniel 3-2-2-2, Starkel 4-1-1-0, Kalkhorst 2-1-2-5, Loecker 4-0-3-1, Sitts 4-1-0-0, K. Reed 3-1-1-1, Reitsma 2-0-0-0, Myers 0-1-0-0, Wheat 0-0-0-0, Eilts 0-0-0-0, Steinert 0-0-0-0.
Here are the times for this week’s girls SPS (speed, power, strength) program at McPherson High
McPherson’s U-14 Lady Express was involved in a couple of recent softball games.
• Lady Express
WICHITA — It was another big weekend for McPherson’s U-12 Lady Express, which won four of five
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