Vollertsen lone survivor for GC golfers at Kansas Am
Vollertsen lone survivor for GC golfers at Kansas Am
By BRETT MARSHALL
By the time Grant Vollertsen completes his play in today's 103rd Kansas Amateur Match Play Championship, he will have a pretty good assessment of the University of Kansas men's golf team's roster.
On Thursday, Vollertsen went two extra holes to win on the 20th hole to defeat David Auer of Wichita in his opening-round match at Indian Hills Country Club in Mission Hills.
But Vollertsen was the lone Garden City golfer to advance to today's second round matches as three others — 1999 Kansas Amateur champion Sean Thayer, Shawn Audrain and Juan Ollarzabal — all went down to defeat in their opening matches.
Thayer, playing in his first tournament of the 2013 season, lost 3 and 2 to Michael McGee of Kansas City, Mo. Audrain fell to Pete Krsnich of Wichita, 4 and 2, while Ollarzabal lost by a 3 and 2 margin to Andrew Beckler of Topeka. Former Sublette resident Gary Lucas was eliminated by qualifying medalist Trey Herman of Hays, 3 and 2.
Vollertsen never trailed in his match with Auer, a redshirt sophomore for the Jayhawks and now will take on another future KU player in Chase Hanna of Leawood. Hanna, the reigning Kansas and Missouri junior champion, survived a scare from No. 58 seed Benjamin Lowman of Manhattan, to win 1-up. The match was scheduled for a 9:10 a.m. start.
The victory was the first for Vollertsen in three Amateur appearances in the match play portion of the tournament.
"I felt like I was pretty much in control of the match," Vollertsen said. "But the kid hung tough. I was hitting greens, putting up close for pars and he kept holing putts from everywhere. In match play, you just have to expect that the other guy is going to make everything — and he was doing that."
Auer made birdie on the 18th hole to tie the match and send it into extra holes. Both made pars on the first hole of sudden death, but it was another rescue shot by Auer that kept the match alive. Auer had hit his approach shot over the green and then chipped to 20 feet while Vollertsen was looking at a 12-foot birdie putt. Auer made his par, Vollertsen missing again. Vollertsen finally ended the extra hole match by hitting a lob wedge to 12 feet and sinking the birdie putt on the second hole. Auer had missed the green and failed to hole his chip shot.
"I played better today than I did in qualifying," Vollertsen said. "I felt like the game was more solid. But we both played pretty solid."
Vollertsen was 2-up in the early portion of the match before losing a pair of holes on the incoming nine. Once, Vollertsen said, Auer was in the trees, pitched out and then hit it to 20 feet where he sank a par putt. The Garden City dentist then proceeded to miss a 3-foot birdie putt to halve the hole.
"That's just the way things were going all day it seemed like," Vollertsen said. "I just kept my calm and played as if he'll make every putt, and he darned near did."
Vollertsen said that in his first two match play appearances, he had drawn a player with a better seed, so he was happy to draw a player in the middle of the pack.
"Realistically, they're all good players, so nobody's going to be a pushover," Vollertsen said. "He (Hanna) is a tough player and I'm just happy to have a chance to play him. Nothing is impossible here, and I'm certainly not scared to play him. I've just got to continue to play better."
Vollertsen said he was probably one or two over par for the 20 holes he played as stroke play scores are not kept.
"I didn't make enough birdies to really get it under par," Vollertsen said. "The course (6,501 yards, par-70) sets up well for me with the exception of a couple of holes that dogleg to the left. I like to work the ball left to right so those holes don't favor me. I'm excited to be playing in the next round. I didn't play last year, but I feel like I'm good enough to go farther and I'm ready for the opportunity."
A win in the morning round would put him in the round of 16 in the afternoon. Quarterfinal and semifinal matches are set for Saturday with the 36-hole final scheduled for Sunday, with the first 18 holes to tee off at 7:30 a.m.
The 2016 Kansas Amateur will return to Garden City in 2016 when The Golf Club at Southwind hosts the most prestigious amateur tournament in the state for the fourth time. Previously, Southwind has hosted the tournament in 1990, 1997 and 2006.
Local golf notes: Buffalo Dunes Golf Course will host its men's club championship on Aug. 3 and 4. The entry fee is $50 per person and it will be a 36-hole individual stroke play tournament. Tee times for the first round can be made from 7 a.m. to noon and pairings for the final round will be based upon first-round scores.
The tournament entry fee includes tee gift, flights and hole prizes. Divisions will include gross (actual) and handicap scores with a Senior division (50 and over) and a Super Senior (65 and over) also competing. The low three players from each flight will play a 9-hole horse race on Sunday for additional prizes.
For more information, contact the Dunes pro shop at 276-1210.
Broncbuster golf fund-raiser
The Garden City Community College Broncbuster Athletic Association will conduct its 38th annual BAA tournament on Aug. 17 with a 9 a.m. shotgun start.
All proceeds from the tournament will benefit the BAA scholarships for men and women athletes who compete on GCCC teams.
The 4-person scramble has an entry fee of $85 per player and the fee includes green fee, cart, mulligan package, bevareges, a BBQ, range balls and two tickets to the Buster Bash later that night. There will be prizes awarded on every hole.