For about half of the boys’ rounds Monday, it was just cold at Drumm Farm Golf Club. Then, a light wet snow started to fall.
It was a new experience for most high school players at the season-opening Independence Invitational, but the consensus in the clubhouse was the weather still ranked above cold rain.
Rockhurst’s players handled the conditions best, shooting a 304 to top the 20-team field. Park Hill South, led by Nick Sobba’s medalist round of 73, was next at 310.
Blue Springs South was the top area team, finishing sixth with 344 (Kearney also had totaled 344 but South had the better fifth score), followed by Truman in eighth (357), Fort Osage 13th (376), William Chrisman 14th (399) and Grain Valley 18th (409).
Truman’s Brian Billings was the top area player, carding a 78 that tied for 10th best.
“They weren’t great conditions,” Billings said. “It snowed a lot; it picked up toward the end of the round. I’ve never played in snow before; that was a new experience.”
Ironically, Billings said his putting improved as the conditions worsened.
“I just (had to) focus on making putts, because that’s ultimately the way you score,” he said. “Normally I putt OK, but I made a bunch of putts, especially on the back.”
Spencer Jones was next for Truman with an 86, followed by Tanner Buettenbach (96), Blake Jones (97) and Ryan Hatch (97).
Ryan Drake had Blue Springs South’s best round with an 83. Trevor Palmer checked with an 86, Jack Steinbeck 87, Bryan Hanneman 88 and Colin Montgomery 92.
“I thought our boys did fine; they kept their focus pretty well,” South coach Ted Linke said. “They had a couple bad holes here and there, and the weather kind of contributed to that, but they did about what I hoped for.
“It’s kind of a new bunch this year. They were playing some good competition, and the weather affected them, but they were excited to be competing.”
Andrew Knopke’s 74 led Rockhurst, which had all five players card 80 or better and finish in the top 17.
“We’ve never practiced in snow, though we have practiced in the cold,” Rockhurst coach Mark Nusbaum said. “Last spring, all these guys were playing in this crap. You can’t worry about it because everybody’s playing in the same weather. It’s a mental thing, mostly.”
Fort Osage’s Micah Lewis (86) and Cody Ball (87), Chrisman’s Jake Becker (85) and Josue Najera (97) and Grain Valley’s Hunter Peterson (88) and Cameron Skinner (93) led their respective teams.