Wildcats drop a dozen strokes at tourney

Cheney Kelley plays an approach shot at the Cassville Tournament on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Cassville High School yearbook staff

Freshman 2 strokes from top 10 in home event

BY KYLE TROUTMAN ktroutman@cassville-democrat.com

The Cassville boys golf team played through chilly and windy weather at its home tournament on Thursday, yet the Wildcats still managed to drop 12 strokes from their previous tournament’s team score.

Jay Rogers, Cassville golf coach, said the Wildcats placed 6th out of the 18 schools at the Cassville Tournament, which saw more than 80 individual participants. Freshman Cheney Kelley posted the low score for the Wildcats with an 87, two strokes away from the top 10 finishers.

“As a team, we finished 12 strokes better than our first tournament in Branson,” Rogers said. “Being on our home course never hurts. Branson was a little tighter with the out-of-bounds markers, which is not the type of golf we are used to playing. We were also more familiar with our greens. Branson’s were fast and giving us fits with a lot of 3- and 4-putts.

“The weather [in Cassville] could have hurt us, being windy and cold. But this time of year, you get what you get.”

The Wildcats’ schedule ramps up this week, as Cassville played in Joplin on Monday and has the Aurora Tournament on Thursday. Tournaments in Carthage, Willard, Marshfield and Monett will then give way to the Big 8 Conference Tournament on April 30, hosted by Springfield Catholic.

“Conference is at Horton Smith Golf Course in Springfield, and being a public course, most of our kids have played on it at one time or another,” Rogers said. “It’s also where we will play districts, so we are using the Conference tournament as a practice round for districts.”

Rogers said over the next few weeks, understanding how to stay mentally positive will be the biggest challenge for Cassville.

“We need more consistency in our mental approach and being able to let a bad shot or bad hole go and not let it ruin the next six holes,” Rogers said. “We are young, with only one senior, one junior and the rest of the team freshmen and sophomores. They need tournament experience and to see different courses and to learn to adjust when they aren’t hitting perfectly. We’re learning course management.”

Rogers said the squad has a competitive mindset about playing in tournaments, which bodes well, but nothing can replicate experience.

“Tournaments are different than just going and playing with your buddies,” he said. “We will get better as we mature and gain that experience.”

Competing for Cassville were Kelley, Cole Watts, Bradley Stumpff, Aiden McBroom, and Dennis Craig. Tyson Bohmke, Will Brooks, Kyle Brown, and Kaleb Artherton also got some experience playing a scramble together.