HESSTON – It was a beautiful day for golf and Abilene’s Justin Deters was able to relax, stay composed and shoot well to cap his senior year of high school golf with his third qualifying trip to the Class 4A State Golf Tournament.
Deters, who has been up and down scoring wise this year, put it all together Monday afternoon at Hesston Golf Park and captured fourth place at the regional hosted by Buhler High School.
“Justin had a great day,” Abilene head coach Mark Willey said. “He stayed composed and finished well. He is now a three-time state qualifier.”
Deters teed off on the tenth hole to begin his day and his threesome included the eventual regional champion freshman Zachary Vandervoort of Pratt and Nickerson sophomore Cayden Herrell.
Deters was nine over through 13 and then played the last five holes at one-over according to Willey. He finished with 81 that placed him in a four-way tie for fourth that forced a playoff.
“Justin’s key shot of the day was a 130-yard iron into hole 15,” Willey said. “He hit it to about a foot for a kick in birdie.”
With his score of 81, Deters had secured his state qualification but then matched up with the others for a two-hole playoff. He won the playoff round by making a 20-foot putt on the first hole and then hitting a nice drive on the second hole according to his coach.
“The playoff was fun,” Willey said. “He had secured his state birth and was just playing for medal.”
“I think my game is getting closer to where it was at the beginning of the season,” Deters said. “Except for a pair of doubles on the back, I avoided the big numbers, and that always helps. Three others came in with an 81 as well and I felt the pressure on the first playoff hole with all the spectators. I pushed my drive right, into the creek, but made that 20 foot put for bogey to move on to the next hole. I know I have some things to work on before next week.”
Vandervoort grabbed the overall gold medal with a three-over par 74. There was a two-way tie for second place between Trevor Black of Andale and Austin Perez of Ulysses. Both juniors ended the day at 77.
In the playoff with Deters was Cooper Foltz of Wamego, Trace Newman from Andale and Mathew Voth of Buhler. These three juniors earned fifth, sixth and seventh place medals.
“It means a lot to be a three-time state qualifier,” Deters said. “The state tournament is really something special, and it is an honor to be able to qualify three years in a row.”
Andale High School went home with the team trophy followed by Buhler and Wamego. The three schools automatically qualified their top four golfers for the state tournament next Monday at Quail Ridge Golf Course in Winfield.
The other Class 4A regional champions were Fort Scott, Altamont-Labette County and Chanute from the Chanute regional. Topeka Hayden, Tonganoxie and Louisburg will represent the Paola regional while Wichita Trinity, Wellington and Augusta came out of the Tallgrass Country Club in Wichita hosted by Trinity Academy.
Individual winners from the three other regionals included Cole Wheeler of Chanute with a 77, which was six-over par at Stone Creek Golf Course. Calvin Dillon of Louisburg shot a one-over 73 on the Paola Country Club for his win. Wellington sophomore Blake Saffell carded a five-over 76 to claim gold at the Wichita Regional.
Abilene’s other golfers struggled some on the Hesston course according to coach Willey. He indicated that the course was long and wet on Monday.
Senior Gus Haug finished with a 98 to place 24th in his final match of his high school career. Fellow senior Seth Bielefeld shot 107.
“Gus and Seth had their moments this year,” Willey said. “These seniors will be missed.”
Abilene sophomore Kieryan Anderson’s season ended with a 100 to place 26th and junior Jimmy Brooks also shot 100. Freshman Stanton Morten had a tough day shooting a 132.