SUTTON — Sandy Creek head coach Jared Blackwell knew his boys golf team had the ability to fire on all cylinders, and the Cougars have shown glimpses of doing just that throughout the season. But there just hasn’t been a day when they’ve all been at their peak in the same competition.
Until Tuesday’s Sutton invite, that is.
The Cougars had all five of their golfers medal and place in the top 12 of the Mustang invitational, with the entire squad shooting under 90 in the 18-hole competition. Sandy Creek’s 335 was the best team score of the day, beating talented teams of Doniphan-Trumbull and Milford by five and nine strokes, respectively.
“I told them that (Tuesday) was going to be a long day and there was going to be good competition there, so we just had to play it one shot at a time. Hats off to those kids because they did it,” Blackwell said. “They played one shot at a time, and it was great to see them firing on all cylinders. However, I think they’re still itching to strive for even better.”
Given beautiful conditions in which to compete, the Cougars boasted four top-10 finishes, including a silver medal for Rodney McDonald, who fired a 75 in Tuesday’s competition. McDonald, who’s been breaking in new irons since the Cougars’ home invite, started the day with two birdies on the front nine and added another birdie and an eagle on the back.
“(McDonald) really has some high aspirations, high goals for himself. And when he doesn’t hit those goals, he’s hard on himself. He’s always asking what can he do to get better,” the Sandy Creek coach said. “Him firing a 41 on the front, he was very frustrated because he knew he was capable of better. I just told him that he still has a lot of golf to play.”
McDonald told Blackwell his putt for eagle was 25 feet, and after sinking it the young golfer had all the confidence to finish strong. The Cougars’ coach said McDonald has been playing especially well late in the season, and Tuesday’s performance only strengthened his confidence.
“Once he came in at two-under on the back, I told him this was the first time he had beaten the golf course — I’ve told him lots of times that if he shots under par you have beaten the golf course — and he just got this big grin on his face,” Blackwell said. “He just said, ‘It’s about time.’ I told him now that he’s done it, I hope it leaves him with a good taste in his mouth and that he’s thirsty for more. He showed a lot of maturity (Tuesday).”
McDonald’s 34 on the back nine was tied for the best nine-hole score of the meet.
Tobey Turman fired off a round of 86 for Sandy Creek, while Derek Story and Garrett Fisher tacked on identical 87s. The trio took places eighth, ninth, and 10th, respectively, in the individual standings. Jake Dane carded an 89 after recording a 40 on the back nine.
Blackwell said Dane was disappointed with his front-nine score of 49, but the Cougars’ No. 4 golfer shaved nine strokes off his next nine holes.
“I found (Dane) after that front nine and I just said, ‘Jake, I need you to keep it under 95.’ And he was like, ‘You got it, coach.’ He kept his head in the game,” Blackwell said.
As impressive as Sandy Creek’s team victory was, the individual gold medal performance of Ethan Smith was just as eye-catching.
The Cardinals’ No. 1 golfer shot carded a nice round of 69, firing a 34 on the front nine — tied for the best nine-hole score — and then followed with a 35, which was the second-best nine-hole score.
Smith, who has been dominate on the course this season, paced Doniphan-Trumbull with four birdies, recording a bogey on just one hole.
Doniphan-Trumbull had another golfer finish in the top 10 in Andrew Stock. He turned in a score of 80 to place sixth, while teammate Hayden Dzingle was 14th with a 91.
Fillmore Central’s Alex Schademann took fifth in the meet with a 78, and fellow Panther Koby Heat tallied an 82.
With consistently high-performing teams like D-T, Fillmore Central and Milford all at the meet, Blackwell said winning the battle against those squads does a lot for his team’s confidence.
“The field was definitely stacked (Tuesday). We hit a wave and we just kind of rolled with it and just kept plugging away, playing our style of play... I always tell my kids that we have to make sure we’re taking care of our business, doing our job. We can’t control what the other team will shoot, we just have to play our game.”
1, Sandy Creek 335; 2, DT 340; 3, Milford 344; 4, Fillmore Central 351; 5, Sutton 389; 6, Osceola 398; 7, St. Cecilia 400; 8, Friend 400; 9, Sutton JV 427; 10, High Plains 463; 11, Heartland 467; 12, BDS 471; 13, Deshler 596; 14, BDS JV 608
1, Ethan Smith 69; 6, Andrew Stock 80; 14, Hayden Dzingle 91; Camdyn Beirow 100; Preston Larson 106
Fillmore Central results
5, Alex Schademann 78; 7, Koby Head 82; Riley Hiatt 93; Aidan Trowbridge 98; Travis Meyer 56 52 108
John Sheridan 97; Tanner Huber 98; Adam Griess 98; Conner Robinson 96; Cody Barritt 120
Sandy Creek results
2, Rodney McDonald 75; 9, Derek Story 87; 8, Tobey Turman 86; 12, Jake Dane 89; 10, Garrett Fisher 87
Addi Crocket 104; Lathen Stanek 119; Nolan O’Brien 121; Jayden Heath 132; Elijah Philippi 127
St. Cecilia results
Ethan Bright 92; Brayden Schropp 96; Chase Evans 105; Jackson Schaefer 112; Creighton Uridil 107
Brayden Schlief 111; Kaden Lanham 125