Scottsbluff golfers off to good start with win, runner-up finish
     2014-04-17      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
The tradition-rich Scottsbluff boys’ golf team may be a little lacking on varsity experience in starting this season, but the Bearcats got their campaign started with a win last week at the Sidney Invitational on Tuesday and then a second-place finish at the Cheyenne Invitational on Friday.

On Friday, the Bearcats shot a 321 to finish second behind Cheyenne East’s solid winning total of 310, Scottsbluff took second by two strokes over Laramie in the 11-team field.

The Bearcats’ performance followed their win in their season opener at Sidney, where junior Koy Potthoff led four Scottsbluff golfers into the top 10 with a 75 and the Bearcats carded a four-man score of 321.

Potthoff is in his third year as a varsity player, while Welsh and Wright are other returning members of last year’s Class B state championship team.

“We’re going to have to get better, but it’s a place to start I think,” Scottsbluff coach Mike Klein said. “It’s still early, and right now we just haven’t had a lot of time to work on stuff.”

Potthoff, who shot a winning 75 at Sidney for his first medalist title, tied for sixth at Cheyenne with a 78. Junior Sean Mercer-Smith scored a 79, his best tournament score, to finish in 10th.

“Our fifth guy, Sean Mercer-Smith, broke 80, and that was really a big boost because we’re always looking for that depth,” Klein said. “We were all just tickled for him. He has come along, and he just needed something like that to prove he could do it.”

Sophomore Jonah Wright followed for Scottsbluff with an 81, while senior Curtis Welsh scored an 83 and Jared Pilkington carded an 84.

Logan Harrison led East with his individual winning score of 73.

“The course at Cheyenne covers the greens, and when they take them off, they’re really long and shaggy and bumpy, and we lost a lot of shots on those things,” Klein said. “The courses should just keep getting better here if we just get a little better weather.”

In the Sidney tourney at Hillside Golf Course, Potthoff played well on the fast greens to take medalist honors by three strokes over Torrington’s Brett Guth.

“The greens were really fast, and it got windy and they just dried out,” Klein said. “Koy putts good enough that he can handle those greens.”

Welsh finished in fifth at 81, while Wright took seventh at 82 and Pilkington finished in 10th at 83. Mercer-Smith turned in an 89.

“One thing for sure is we’re being consistent, and that was one of my biggest worries,” Klein said.

Sidney finished second to Scottsbluff with a 335 and Laramie, Wyo., was third with a 339.

Eight teams competed in the tournament, with Gering placing fifth with a team score of 363. The Bulldogs were led by Austin Kaufman, who finished fourth with an 80. Also for Gering, Kraiger Ebbers had a 90, Alex Lupher finished with a 95, Grant Maser Scored a 101, and Mark Montague carded a 107.

Scottsbluff returns to Wyoming today (Thursday) for the Douglas Invitational. Gering, which was in Tuesday’s Mitchell Invitational, and Scottsbluff will then be in Gothenburg on April 24 for their next varsity action, while the junior varsity Bulldogs will be in the Morrill Invitational today.

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