Mustang golfers finish fourth



March 31, 2012 - 12:00 AM

INDEPENDENCE — Iola High’s Mustangs got into the swing of things quickly Thursday to open the 2012 golf season.

The Mustangs finished fourth at the first designated Southeast Kansas League tournament — the Independence High Invitational.

Independence won the tournament on its own course with a 333 and Fort Scott was three strokes back at 336. Coffeyville placed third with a team total of 345 and Iola shot 346 as a team.

“We played OK for our first tournament of the season. We had four kids who had never played in a high school tournament before,” said Rick Horton, Mustang golf coach. “Our course management was better but I expect us to get better as the season progresses.”

Pittsburg St.Mary’s-Colgan was one of two non-league teams participating and finished fifth. Columbus was sixth at 368, followed by Labette County at 377. Chanute and Pittsburg each had a 390. Parsons finished 10th at 394 and non-league Girard was 11th at 435.

Iola has a mix of seniors and freshmen playing varsity this season. Freshman Kaden Macha claimed the third-place medal with an 81 (39-42) in the 18-hole event.

Independence’s Eric Schlange was the top medalist at 76 (37-39) and Brett Yeubanks of Coffeyville was second at 78 (41-37).

The Mustangs’ Shane Walden, another freshman, tied for 12th at 86 (43-43). Iola senior Zach Crawford tied for 15th at 87 (39-48).

Drake Dieker, a freshman, and senior Kris Collins were 26th and 27th, respectively. Dieker shot 92 (49-43) and Collins recorded a 93 (46-47). Freshman Adam Peterson was 39th with a 99 (46-53).

“I told them on the way to the meet that Independence’s greens are fast but these were the slowest  I’ve seen them,” Horton said.

“Zach really played smart golf and has shown a lot of improvement in his course management over the seasons.”

The SEK teams come to Iola Tuesday for a league tournament. It will be played at Allen County Country Club starting at 3 p.m.

“We’re looking forward to having a league tournament on our home course. We’ve played it so much and most of the guys grew up on the course,” Horton said. “Our young kids will make the adjustments to the high school game.”