The memory of last year's close loss at the conference finals has stuck with the seniors for Blue Springs South.
On Monday, the Jaguars made up for a one-stroke loss last year to Lee's Summit West with a dominating performance at the Suburban Big Six Championships at par-72 Adams Pointe Golf Club.
''It was a goal for our seniors this year. They thought they could win it and they wanted go out as conference champions and they put their mind to it,” Blue Springs South coach Casey Enright said. “Coming in second (last year), I think that drove them. They knew it could be done coming into the year with four guys back as seniors. I think that was a big part of it.”
The quartet of seniors all placed in the top six and that helped the Jaguars easily cruise to their first conference title since 2015. The Jaguars had a team tally of 320, while runner-up Blue Springs took second with a 336.
Blue Springs South's Grant Wall tied for first with a 7-over 79 but lost a scorecard tiebreaker to Park Hill's Ryan Graves. Graves had a bogey, while Wall had a double bogey on No. 6 and that determined the medalist.
“Individually, it was nice taking second,” said Wall, who recorded his lone birdie at No. 14. “I played pretty well today. I missed a few putts that would've broken the tie, but it was still nice.
Wall shot 39 on the front nine – 3 over par – but quickly had a 7-over through the first three holes on the back nine. Wind played a factor later in the afternoon and on the turn going to No. 10, it forced Wall and the other golfers to adjust shots – aiming right or left from the tee depending on the direction of the hole. The senior noted another struggle was how fast the greens were, forcing him to go short of the flag rather than hit the green and then roll into the rough.
He had a drive of about 250 yards with his hybrid on No. 14 and got to the green and that set up his lone birdie after two-putting the hole.
Blue Springs South's Ryan Dykhouse and Dylan Boyer each shot 80 to finish third and fourth, respectively, while Grant Williamson was sixth with an 81. Between the trio of Jaguars was Lee's Summit North's Kohlin Hicks, who shot 80 as well to take fifth.
“Having four in the top six was really cool,” Wall said. “We played well today and it was nice to see it come to fruition. We wanted to win conference. Now we are looking at doing well at district and sectional and taking a team to state. This is step one in the postseason process and we hope to take it pretty far.”
Blue Springs had a pair of all-conference performers in sophomore Blake Rooney (83, ninth) and Blake Whetstone (82, eighth), who is a repeat medal winner. Seth Wildoner (84, 11th) and Caden Jackley (87, 13th) each earned honorable mention all-conference honors and completed the Wildcats’ scoring.
The runner-up finish is a step in the right direction for coach Doug Gillispie's bunch. Two years ago they were sixth out of seven teams in the standings and last year moved up to a tie for fifth out of seven teams.
“We are gradually building up,” Gillispie said. “The guys are dedicated to getting better. These guys were shooting 110s as freshmen and now they are shooting 80s. They are getting better. They are grinding themselves into better golfers.”
Lee’s Summit North finished fifth at 351. Raef Campell and Liam Frank each shot 89 and Devin DeRousse had a 93 to round out the Broncos’ scoring.
SUBURBAN SMALL SEVEN: Brad Kitsmiller and Jace Collum each fired an 87 to earn all-conference honors and lead Grain Valley to a third-place finish in its inaugural appearance in the Suburban Small Seven Championships Monday at par-71 Shiloh Spring Golf Club in Platte City.
Kitsmiller and Collum tied for seventh as the Eagles totaled 363 to finish behind Smithville (329) and Platte County (354).
Davis Powell shot 90 to finish 11th and earn honorable mention all-conference honors for the Eagles. Trevor Bartlett’s 99 completed Grain Valley’s scoring.
SUBURBAN LARGE SEVEN: Aidan Williams shot 94 but Truman struggled to a 440 total in the Suburban Large Seven Championships Monday at par-72 WinterStone Golf Course.
The Patriots finished seventh as Liberty (321) claimed the team title by edging Liberty North (325).
“Today was rough,” Truman coach Joey Penner said. “I would love to blame our scores on the wind today, but that is just another factor to be considered in the game of golf. We have a lot of work to do before districts next Monday.”