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Examiner
  • Blue Springs grad nabs spot in Watson Challenge

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  • A former Blue Springs High School state champion has earned his way into the Watson Challenge field.
    And a Blue Springs South graduate earned a first alternate status for the Watson Challenge, which is scheduled for Friday through Sunday at the Country Club of Loch Lloyd.
    Ryan Buerk, a Blue Springs grad who won the individual Class 4 Missouri high school state championship in 2010, claimed one of four spots during a qualifying round on May 28 at the Fred Arbanas Golf Course at Longview Lake.
    Buerk was one of four to shoot 67 to earn spots in this weekend’s prestigious tournament, which was founded by Kansas City legend Tom Watson to determine the best pro or amateur golfer in the Kansas City area annually.
    Blue Springs South graduate J.P. Derksen – a former Jaguar all-stater and Kansas State golfer who played in last year’s Watson Challenge with Buerk on his bag – was one of three just a stroke back at 68. But Derksen scored an eagle on No. 10, his first hole in the playoff, to earn the No. 1 alternate spot.
    Former St. Mary’s High School all-state player Evan Monheiser shot 69 to finish two strokes off the pace, while Blue Springs grad Ian Benedict and Blue Springs South grad Blake Windsor each shot a 1-under 71. Fort Osage grade Tyler Rodewald shot 81.
    Gary McClure of Independence, a pro at Drumm Farm Golf Club, had already earned a spot in the Watson Challenge field as a top 18 player on the PGA Midwest Section player list. Steve Groom of Raytown and John Lovell III of Lee’s Summit also earned spots by being in the top 16 eligible players on the Kansas City Golf Association’s Bushnell Points Standings.
    The field will also include the namesake Watson himself, the five-time champion including last year and PGA Tour members Robert Streb and Michael Letzig.
    Buerk will tee off at 9:40 a.m. Friday in the opening round. McClure will tee off at 9:50, Groom at 8:20 and Lovell at 8:40. Watson is in the 8:30 threesome, while Streb is at 9 a.m.
    KANSAS CITY JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP: Blue Springs South’s Tara Thorp captured fourth place in the girls field of the KC Junior Championship at Hillcrest Golf & Country Club on June 3.
    She finished fourth with a two-round total of 172 (86-86). India Gaume won the girls title with a 156 total.
    In the boys field, Blue Springs South’s Ryan Drake shot 166 to tie for 36th and South’s Bryan Hanneman shot 177 to finish 43rd. Eric Pahls won the boys title in a playoff after shooting 148 and earned a spot in the Watson Challenge field.
    WOMEN’S APL QUALIFIER: Mariah Peters, who will be a senior at Blue Springs High School this fall, fired a 78 to finish in a tie for fifth place, seven strokes off the pace, in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Qualifying Tournament on May 27 at Drumm Farm Golf Club.
    Page 2 of 2 - University of Kansas golfer Minami Levonowich shot a 1-under 71 to earn one of the three automatic berths to the final U.S. Women’s APL event. University of Missouri golfer Laura Kraft (72) and Taylor Black (75) claimed the other two spots.

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