Krzyzanowski repeats as Best in the West after winning playoff
     2012-10-05      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Elizabeth Gross/Gering Citizen Gering sophomore Sam Rahmig eyes the fairway after taking a swing at the Best in the West tournament last week at Monument Golf Course. Rahmig took third place at 88.  
Kaitlyn Krzyzanowski celebrated another Best in the West girls’ golf championship last Wednesday at Monument Shadows Golf Course.

But this time around, things were different: Krzyzanowski got to share the spotlight with three other teammates who also medaled and placed in the top six of the 24-player field.

And in a repeat of the end from the Gering Invitational on Sept. 11, Krzyzanowski needed a playoff to capture medalist honors over Chadron senior Kelli Haynes.

What made this playoff different from the first, won by Krzyzanowski with a birdie on the first hole, is the pair started at the 18th hole, faced a bevy of weather and course conditions from tee to green, then tied with pars and then went back to the first hole where Krzyzanowski won with a par putt.

For good measure, and to summarize how difficult the playing conditions were made by having the golfers use the men’s tees in preparation for Monday’s district action, Haynes went ahead and putted out for an otherwise meaningless bogey on the final extra hole.

The harsh playing conditions kept the day’s scores high.

Krzyzanowski, who trailed Haynes‘43 by five strokes after the front nine, shot a 1-over 37 on the back nine while Haynes shot 42 in forcing the playoff after both carded 85.

Krzyzanowski said the key to her back-nine rally was “staying mentally strong, because that was hard coming off a 48 and trying to shoot par. I ended up shooting 1-over on the back, so it was really hard, so just staying mentally strong.”

Krzyzanowski faced no harsher conditions than on her approach shot on the par-4 18th in the playoff. With a shower blowing right into the left-hander’s face, Krzyzanowski fired her second shot over the green and right on top of a mound that sits right behind the putting surface.

“I took too much club and I thought it was OK, because I had used a club higher when I was in about the same spot when I played it before (in regulation),” she said. “When it came in there, I was just getting too aggressive and usually when I get nervous, I hit it a lot farther because I get antsy. It was just way too much club.”

Krzyzanowski then chipped a shot that first had her and spectators in awe of its placement, but even more so when the ball rolled within two feet of the hole.

“That was a hard chip, I’m not going to lie,” she said. “It was downhill for me, so I was above it in the hill’s hard ground. It was hard and it came out and turned out good, left me with a two-footer.”

While Haynes made the green in two shots, she had to two-putt for her par. Krzyzanowski then drained her short putt to force the second extra hole -- at No. 1, where Kryzanowski outplayed Haynes 15 days earlier to win the Gering Invitational.

The playoff marked the end of head-to-head competition at the high school level between the two friendly rivals. While Gering and Krzyzanowski played in Class B district competition at Holdrege on Monday, Haynes and Chadron were in the District C-5 meet in Ogallala.

“She really challenges me,” Krzyzanowski said of Haynes. “Both times, she was ahead of me going into the back nine, and I usually have to fight it out.”

Both players went wide right of the fairway on their tee shots, but Krzyzanowski got her second shot on the green and two-putted for the winning par. Haynes left herself with a third shot to the green after her tee shot went nearly out of bounds.

Conditions were more so difficult that a double-digit score was required to crack the top 10. Gering‘s other three medalists included the consistent play of sophomore Sam Rahmig, who had 44 on both sides on her way to taking third place at 88.

“We’ve been working on the white tees for two days, and it really wasn’t different than the red tees, it felt pretty good,” Rahmig said. “It was a really consistent day for me and I was just really happy with that.”

The third-place medal performance was Rahmig’s best in five medal placements this season, including three straight medal-earning efforts.

“I had a fifth in Alliance, so third is a great step for me,” she said. “Our team has really improved and we’re just getting better each and every time and hopefully getting ready for state — well, districts first.”

Gering junior Amber Fertig (45-48 — 93) came in fifth while sophomore Ashlyn Schultz took sixth with her 49-45 — 94.

As they came in after finishing their rounds, Schultz, Fertig and Rahmig all had the clubhouse lead, passing each other along the way.

“I am so happy for them,” Krzyzanowski said. “We are doing well.

They are doing exceptional and I’m so proud of them. We’re hoping to get to state from districts on Monday.”

Also competing for Gering — and with the battle for the fifth and final spot on the Bulldogs’ district ladder looming — were junior Kendall Bayne, who finished among three golfers tied for 15th at 103, and sophomore Jasie Beam, who was 21st at 54-54 — 108.

Bayne shot 52-51, as did Mitchell‘s Emily Snyder in tying for 15th.

Bayard junior JaLee Pilkington struggled on the front nine at 53 but came in with a 48 to tie for 12th at 101.

Bearcats fourth in GNAC

Scottsbluff finished its regular-season schedule Friday by placing fourth in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament at Lakeside Country Club in Lexington.

The Bearcats shot a four-player score of 351. Norfolk won the team championship with a 329, followed by McCook in second at 344 and Columbus in third at 347.

Senior Ashlee Pilkington led the Bearcats individually with a season-low score of 81, good for a fifth-place finish. Pilkington finished just two strokes behind top medalist Jenna Weber of Norfolk and was tied at No. 4 with McCook’s Kaylee Samway but lost on a scorecard tie break.

Pilkington was the only medalist for Scottsbluff. Kim Moore was next for the Bearcats at 86, while Megan Pilkington carded an 87, Hannah Holloway shot a 97 and Jordan York finished at 103.

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