Because he was in Augusta — that’s Georgia and not Kansas — this past weekend watching his little brother Tate compete in the Masters’ National Youth Drive, Chip and Putt Contest, Grant Herrenbruck wasn’t able to join his Sacred Heart teammates on Monday when they won the El Dorado Invitational.
So needing a meet to complete his schedule, the Knights’ sophomore standout was granted a special invite to the McPherson Invitational on Thursday.
On a day better suited for kite flying, Herrenbruck probably shot one of the worst scores that he’ll compile all season. But given the 30 mile-per-hour north wind that buffeted the course and the greens being slicker than 2-inch ice on the streets, his 81 held up for medalist honors.
Herrenbruck, the Class 2A runner-up last year, admitted he wasn’t overwhelmed by his score, but had a feeling the numbers would be high when he saw the windy conditions.
“I did think there would not be many low scores today due to the conditions and the course conditions,” he said. “I played well here yesterday (in a practice round), but it wasn’t as nearly windy as it was today. The pro told me the north wind makes the course about five or six shots harder.”
Herrenbruck, who shot 73 at state last year, said there were some positives to take away from the day.
“I was really good off the tee, I didn’t lose a single ball,” said Herrenbruck, who drove it over the par-4 17th hole, which is well over 300 yards. “And I still shot 81. I need to work on my short game. I think I missed only one fairway all day.”
Herrenbruck said it was a different feeling not having his entire team at the meet, which actually took some of the pressure off as he was playing for himself and not for his fellow mates.
For a while, it appeared nobody was going to break 85 on the par-70 layout, which in the past has yielded more than 20 rounds under 80. But the wind blew across the course and not at the golfers’ backs, creating chaos.
McPherson’s Jacob Lackey was hoping to go back-to-back, having won the El Dorado Invitational on Monday. But he struggled on the front nine with a 43, only to come back with a 39 for an 82, good for second place.
Hutchinson, coached by McPherson High graduate Charlie Pierce, won the team title with a 341, which was more than 40 shots worse than many of the winning scores in the past. Maize (345) and Arkansas City (358) rounded out the Top 3, with the host Bullpups taking fourth out of 12 teams with 362.
The Bullpups’ CJ Steiner just missed medaling, which required a Top 15 finish. He had an 89 for 16th place. Other MHS scores were Drew Pyle (91), Kaden Warren (100), Casey Cheek (104) and Colten Geren (113).
“I’m pretty pleased with that (fourth place). It was a tough day,” MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon said. “I can’t ever remember a harder day. A really good round by Jake. Golf is such a strange game. You can always find that one or two shots somewhere. A lot of ifs and buts in golf. Overall, I’m not displeased. Those teams that finished ahead of us are going to be state championship contenders.”
• TEAM SCORES •
1. Hutchinson, 341
2. Maize, 345
3. Arkansas City, 358
4. McPherson, 362
5. Buhler, 372
6. Salina South, 375
7. Sterling, 381
8. Newton, 385
9. Winfield, 406
10. El Dorado, 422
11. Campus, 468
12. St. John, 505
• MEDALISTS •
1. Grant Herrenbruck, Sacred Heart, 81
2. Jacob Lackey, McPherson, 82
3. Jacob Roth, Maize, 83
4. Tyler Stedman, Maize, 84
5. Jack Lanham, Hutchinson, 84
6. Mason Faucett, Hutchinson, 85
7. Jake Shaw, Arkansas City, 85
8. Jack Howard, Hutchinson, 85
9. Kaelan Hackenberg, Maize, 86
10. Max Ontjes, Hutchinson, 86
11. Josh Reed, Salina South, 87
12. Nick Schissler, Sterling, 88
13. Dylan Schmitt, Buhler, 89
14. Brock Dowler, Arkansas City, 89
15. Grant Burr, Buhler, 89