It should be a fun week of junior golf

By Steve Sell
June 12, 2017

Turkey Creek Golf Course’s version of the Green Monster is in place, the fairways have been mowed so they’re like pool table tops and the greens are being watered so they don’t bake out.

It’s all systems go for the 58th annual Kansas Junior Amateur Boys Tournament and the 7th annual Sadie Park Sunflower Girls Tournament that begins with a practice round today, followed by three days of competition.

The “Green Monster” is the giant scoreboard that has been erected by No. 10 tee box for spectators to see how their favorite players are doing. The Turkey Creek Turf Team is taking great pride in readying the course as the fairways have never looked better and the rough has been shortened so the pace of play won’t be slowed to a crawl by looking for lost golf balls. 

Now it could be up to Mother Nature to see just how low they can go.

After weeks of calm conditions, the wind machine cranked up on Saturday and continued Sunday. The forecast for Tuesday’s first round is strong wind and Wednesday’s second round is to feature lesser, but breezy, conditions. It sounds like Thursday could be the best day when it's all on the line.

It was my belief if serene conditions prevailed, there could be some incredibly low scores. Because I follow high school golf during the spring, I know of many of the top competitors in the field. There are 16 boys with “plus” handicaps, which means their normal rounds are par or better.

The player with the best handicap is Zach Sokolosky, who checks in with a plus 3.3. He was the Class 5A state champion last month at the Salina Muni by firing a 3-under-par 67. 

His 1:40 tee time on Tuesday should be the featured pairing to follow, as he’s grouped with Grant Herrenbruck, who is a plus 2.7 and won the McPherson High Invitational back in April with a 67. The third member of the group is Jack Theiss, who has a 0.5 handicap.

Herrenbruck and the other three standouts of his historic Salina Sacred Heart golf team, which won the 2A state title, are in the field — Tate Herrenbruck, Cole Elmore and Quentin Shaw.

For McPherson fans, local standout Jacob Lackey goes off at 8:00 on Tuesday. He has a plus 0.1 handicap and also in his group are Cooper Spears (plus 2.1), Logan Durst (0.6) and Jacob Roth (0.0). It should be a bombers group.

I had the opportunity to play a round with Lackey last week and my jaw just drops at some of the tee shots he hits. He turns most of the par-4s into a pitch and putt, so it’s essential for him to have his wedge game at its sharpest. If he keeps the ball in play, he will rate an excellent chance to be a contender.

It promises to be a fun week at The Creek with some uber-talented youngsters on display. I encourage all golf fans, or sports fans in general, to take in some of the action because you'll be astounded with the quality of these young men and women.