Six-stroke playoff win earns them state berth
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Chase County’s absence since 2006 from the Class C state golf tournament came to an end Monday in a playoff win for the final spot.
At the end of regulation play, the Longhorns found themselves in a two-way tie with Perkins County for the third and final state tourney slot.
Monday’s Class C5 district tournament was played at Kearney’s Meadowlark Hills. Light winds in the morning developed into strong winds by the afternoon, making playing conditions tough as the day progressed.
Valentine captured the district title with a team total of 334, followed by Kearney Catholic with a 343.
Each with 365s, Chase County and Perkins County sent their four best scoring players for the day to the first tee to determine the final team qualifier.
Sophomore Freddie Kasselman had already clinched a trip to state with a sixth-place finish in the individual standings. However, the playoff was all about the team.
Kasselman and Ryan Moline teamed up to face Perkins County’s Austin Thelander and Colton White. Thelander had also clinched an individual berth with a 78 to finish fourth.
Kasselman and Moline each put their second shots on the green on the par 4 1st hole.
Kasselman sunk his birdie putt with Moline getting his par while both PC players finished with bogeys. That gave CCS a three-stroke lead in the playoff.
Curtis Laird and Tyler Jennings teed off next for CCS, facing PC’s Cole Whalen and Alex Johnston.
Coach Larry Munger said the second foursome did not know how their teammates had done in front of the them. Munger said Jennings had some trouble with his drive but put his second shot on the green. Laird also put his second shot on the green .
The Longhorns got some breathing room when Whalen hit his second shot out-of-bounds.
When it came time to putt, Laird drained a 15-footer for birdie and Jennings put down a long-range three-putt to clinch the playoff win by six strokes, 15-21.
Munger described the playoff as “awesome.” He said his kids really stepped up, playing under the most intense pressure they’d probably ever faced as a high school player.
CCS in the team hunt
Going into Monday’s tournament, Munger felt his team had a legitimate shot at taking third place to earn the final qualifying spot.
He expected Valentine and Kearney Catholic to be the top two teams but felt the third spot was wide open. But he knew it would be a dog fight and it was.
The Longhorns shot a 348 at Cozad the week prior for their best team score of the season so he felt qualifying for state as a team was doable.
At districts, the top three teams and the top 10 individuals and ties qualify for the state meet.
However, Munger began to wonder about that berth after the first nine holes.
Kasselman’s and Moline’s 44s represented the best front nine scores for the Longhorns.
But they played well enough on the back nine compared to the rest of the field, Munger said.
Kasselman fired a 36 on the back to finish with an 80 and clinch sixth place. Munger said Kasselman missed a couple putts that could have dropped him lower.
Moline followed with a 47. His 91 placed him 21st overall.
After shooting a 53 on the front, Laird came back with a 44, including an 8 on the final hole to finish with a 97.
Jennings went 46-51 to also finish with a 97 while Darin Knobbe shot 60-54 to finish at 114.
Munger said the Longhorns beat Perkins County in key meets this year—SPVA and now districts. It’s been since 2006 that the golf team has won the SPVA and earned a spot in the state Class C tournament.
The Longhorns will play the tournament at Lincoln’s Highlands Golf Course, 5501 NW 12th Street.
The practice round will be next Monday, May 20 with the two-day tournament to follow on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Based on district scores, Munger said his team should compete well in the state tournament field.
Results of the district, Cozad and Ogallala meets are as follows:
- Team results: 1, Valentine, 334; 2, Kearney Catholic, 343; 3, Chase County, 365 (won playoff); 4, Perkins County, 365; 5, Southern Valley, 369; 6, Bayard, 373; 7, Mitchell, 377; 8, Ainsworth, 381; 9, NP St. Pat’s, 387; 10, Bridgeport, 396; 11, Dundy County-Stratton, 405; 12, Franklin, 410; 13, Kimball, 427; 14, Hershey, 428;
- Individual results: 1, Sam Sommers, Kearney Catholic, 73; 2, Henry Heeg, Kimball, 75; 3, Hunter Quinn, Southern Valley, 76; 4, Austin Thelander, Perkins County, 78, 5, Cameron Bancroft, Valentine, 79; 6, Freddie Kasselman, Chase County, 80; 7, Brooks Coleman, Valentine, 81; 8, Lane Hildebrandt, Valentine, 82; 8, Trae Blanco, Bayard, 82; 10, Joshua Siel, Franklin, 85.
- CCS results: Freddie Kasselman, 44-36=80; Curtis Laird, 53-44=97; Ryan Moline, 44-47=91; Tyler Jennings, 46-51=97; Darin Knobbe, 60-54=114.
- Team results: 1, Holdrege, 312; 2, Kearney JV, 313; 3, Cozad, 327; 4, Chase County, 348; 5, Ogallala, 377; 6, N.P. St. Pat’s, 380; 7, Broken Bow, 395; 8, Gothenburg, 401; 9, Cozad JV, 405; 10, Gibbon, 510.
- Medalist: Jacob Fuehrer, Holdrege, 74. 4, Freddie Kasselman, CCS, 76.
- CCS results: Freddie Kasselman, 39-37=76; Ryan Moline, 46-42=88; Curtis Laird, 52-43=95; Darin Knobbe, 48-41-=89; Tyler Jennings, 47-49-96; Sam Haarberg, 59-48=107.
- Team results: 1, McCook, 309; 2, Scottsbluff, 312; 3, Sidney, 329; 4, Cozad, 350; 5, Alliance, 355; 6, Chadron, 361; 7, Gering, 361; 8, Ogallala, 362; 9, Chase County, 365; 10, Perkins County, 376; 11, Gothenburg, 395; 12, Ogallala JV, 411; 13, Hershey, 435;
- Medalist: Mack Alspaugh, McCook, 71.
- CCS results: Freddie Kasselman, 44-40=84; Ryan Moline, 51-45=96; Curtis Laird, 54-45=99; Darin Knobbe, 42-44=86; Tyler Jennings, 53-59=112.