By TIM HORAN
MCPHERSON — It sounds pretty easy.
“All I have to do is par out.” But in a golf tournament, it can become a difficult task. If a trip to the state golf tournament is on the line, the pressure builds even more.
But that’s what Abilene’s Jacob Harms did Monday in the Class 4A regional held at the Turkey Creek golf course.
Abilene Coach Mark Willey calculated that it would take a score of 80 or better to qualify for state.
With three grueling holes left, the senior Harms shot pars to shoot 81 and earned a trip to the Cherry Oaks Golf Course in Cheney next Monday.
“Going in, we thought something around 80 would get you in the money,” Coach Willey said.
Freshman teammate Marcus Willey missed the cut by one shot with an 83 (43-4).
“We knew coming in that there was the potential for big numbers out here,” Willey said. “That was our goal; to keep the ball in play and avoid the big numbers.”
Unfortunately for Marcus Willey, a nine on the par five No. 9 hole was too much to overcome.
On No. 9 Willey hit his drive in the right hazard. His attempt to punch out ended up in the left hazard on the other side of the fairway. The quadruple bogey forced the Abilene freshman to play catch-up on the back nine.
Despite shooting a 40 on the back nine, 83 didn’t qualify.
The top two teams plus the top five medalists that were not on those two teams qualified for state.
As expected Hesston and Buhler dominated the team scoring. Led by Matt Thayne (76) and Matt Steele (77) Buhler won the regional by one shot (310). Hesston, led by the top to medalists Quentin Henricks (74) Tyler Heimerman (75) placed second.
Tournament hosts McPherson and Abilene tied for third 26 shots back (337).
Harms said he was grinding most of the day.
“I couldn’t make many pars,” Harms said of the afternoon when the warm temperatures and wind made the greens hard and fast. “I couldn’t putt on these fast greens. They are just a lot different than Abilene.
“I started out well but couldn’t make par after that. I think I played 10 holes in a row when I played bogey golf,” Harms said.
“There’s also a lot of water,” Harms said, adding that the water is intimidating if the drives are missing the fairways. “If you are squirting your drives, you just don’t have any confidence in your shots.”
But when it counted, Harms finished strong.
“Stay solid and hit good shots” is what Harms said he wanted to do the last three holes. “Play smart, two putt and make pars.”
Harms avoided thinking ahead.
“Just take it one hole at a time,” he said.
“There weren’t many easy holes out here,” Willey said of the course that was set up for tournament play. “The easy holes were downwind but the holes were at the front of the greens. It was tough to make a birdie today.”
Harms was happy with the season and qualifying for state.
“I could have done better, obviously,” he said. “My goal for the year was to win a tournament or two. It could have been better but I am not disappointed.”
Willey was also happy with the play of the other players on the team.
“I was tickled with those guys,” he said.
Thomas Cooper shot 86 and Ryan Kreutzer 87 to round out Abilene top four scores. Justin Carroll also shot 90 and Dalton Goodwin shot 95.
The Chapman Fighting Irish placed seventh out of the nine teams.
Josh Chewning led Chapman with a 92.
Also for Chapman Bryce Winters shot 100, Aaron Parham 106, Zach Harris 117, Kody Baer 121 and Brandt Blixt 127.