Labette County’s Dakota Payne as well as the Erie boys golf team all competed at their respective KSHSAA state championships on Monday and Tuesday.
In the Class 4A tournament in Dodge City, Payne finished 24th in the final standings after making the second-day cut. Payne shot a 169 over two rounds — an 84 on Day 1 then an 85 on the second day.
“It couldn’t have gone better,” Labette County head coach Jack Leake said. “In four years, those are the lowest tournament rounds he’s ever shot. Mariah Hills isn’t a cupcake course and Monday was really windy.”
Leake added that despite harder conditions on Monday, Payne found more fairways off the tee.
“On Monday, he was hitting his driver onto the fairway all day. But then on Tuesday, he was working his butt off from the rough,” Leake said. “It was only one shot of difference, but it felt like two different rounds all together.”
Wellington’s Deitrek Gill won the state title in Class 4A , shooting an even par 142 over both days. Chanute’s Drayton Cleaver was third in the state, shooting four-over par. Wellington also won the team title with a score of 610, finishing 32 strokes ahead of second-place Wamego.
Payne, a senior for Labette County, made the state tournament in all three possible seasons — last year was canceled due to the pandemic.
“He’s one of the top people at Labette County High School. He’s a good young man,” Leake said. “He’s such a well-rounded kid. And he didn’t start golf until his freshman year and was shooting around 120. This year, his stroke average was 88. He’s a top-notch young man.”
As for Erie at the Class 2A championships in Salina, Mark Bogner was the lone golfer from the school to make the Day 2 cut.
Bogner finished 27th overall after shooting 170 over two days. He shot an 86 on the first day and finished the tournament with an 84.
“Mark wanted to get into the top 20 to medal,” Erie head coach Bill Ruble said. “But he did well. The golf course was set up very hard. But I was proud of him. He did a great job. He played hard.”
Ruble felt Bogner, who is going to Friends University to continue his golf career next year, still played two solid rounds.
“He was hitting the ball really well,” Ruble said. “The greens were really huge, and we play on small greens in this area. If he would’ve made a couple more putts, he would’ve been in that top 20.”
The rest of the Erie team that qualified for state missed the cut after the first day. Ayden Fisher shot a 93 and was just a few strokes off making the cut.
“He’ll be fighting it out for my top spot next year,” Ruble said. “He got into the thick rough a few times and had a hard time getting out of it. But most of the day, he played very well.”
Logan Ewan shot a 108, Brayden Yarnell 123, Gavin Reissig 135 and Brandon Volz 137.
“It was awesome for the team,” Ruble said. “It’s been 12 years since we qualified as a team. Mark was the only senior, and we had two juniors and three sophomores up there. They were a little overwhelmed a times. But it was a great experience for them.
“These kids have never seen a course like this. As a coach, I need to get these kids out to more courses that are difficult.”
Ruble anticipates that the rest of his squad will improve over the offseason to make up for the loss of Bogner.
“They’re really planning on playing a lot of golf this summer,” Ruble said. “The Erie course allows them to play for free. I’m really excited about next year.”