Bearcat golfers take second, headed to state: Bulldog boys end season at district tournament
     2014-05-22      By The Gering Citizen    kaitlynk@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Terry Gaston/Gering Citizen - Junior Bearcat Koy Pothoff sizes up the putting line on the eleventh hole at the Scottsbluff Invitational Tournament earlier this season. Pothoff tied his career low of 71, leading the Bearcats to a second place team score of 305 at the district tournament held Monday in Cozad. 
The Class B, District 4 tournament for boys’ golf was held at the Cozad Country Club in Cozad on May 19.
Scottsbluff Bearcats, McCook Bison, and Broken Bow Indians dominated the top ten individualists with both the Bearcats and the Indians placing three of their players and the Bison placing two.

Junior Koy Pothoff led the Bearcats to their second place team score of 305 by tying with his career low of 71 which landed him second place at the meet. Head coach Mike Klein was pleased with both Koy’s and the team’s performance.

“In a perfect world, our team score could be lower but a 305 isn’t bad at all. There’s always room for improvement. Curtis Welsh hadn’t been able to play for a few days so we might have been able to go lower if that was different. However, overall I thought they played well,” Klein said.

With so many low scores in the top 10, the district tournament was a challenging one. But the course itself didn’t appear to be.

“The course was in pretty good shape. I don’t think it was terribly difficult. The front nine was definitely harder than the back but, if there was any struggling from the guys, it was because both nines were entirely different from each other. Overall, I thought Cozad did a good job with holding districts there,” Klein said.

With the tournament having a smooth run, the weather seemed to hang in there too giving the field fair weather for the meet.

“The weather was pretty ideal for golf in Cozad. There wasn’t much wind for most of the round. Late in the day it started to pick up but I do believe it was the best day we have had for golf so far,” Klein said.

The Bulldogs fell short of going to state as a team and with no medalists, the team’s season has come to an end. Lone senior Austin Kaufman is disappointed to not have made it through districts.

“I was definitely pretty disappointed in myself. But I know I had a few bad holes and since I hadn’t played the course before, I wasn’t getting a lot of my tee shots placed in the right spot,” Kaufman said.

With the entire team struggling, Kaufman was positive it had a lot to do with the tee shot placement.

“I feel like tee shot placement was a huge reason the team was struggling. We were new to the course so it was difficult to know exactly where to get our ball in the best position to do well on each hole. Also, the greens were really small. So if you missed, the next challenge is getting up and down. Those two areas you really needed to be solid in to do well at that course,” Kaufman said.

Although it’s now over for the senior, Kaufman is content with his overall season performance.

“I’m really proud of myself with how I did this year. I thought I was pretty solid and placed in quite a few tournaments as well as got a win in Ogallala,” Kaufman said.

With the state tournament right around the corner, the Bearcats are preparing for a tough fight to take home the championship.

“I think that winning state as a team is a definite possibility. Although, I know we are going to have to play good to beat McCook. Both McCook and Broken Bow from our district are going to be our strongest competitors there. I think that it will depend a lot on the weather conditions in Grand Island,” Klein said.
The Bearcats will go head to head with both McCook and Broken Bow on May 28-29 at the state tournament held in Grand Island at the Indianhead Golf Club.

Individual medalists include: Noah Hofman (McCook), 1st with a 71; Koy Pothoff (Scottsbluff), 2nd with a 71; Marcus Miller (Broken Bow), 3rd with a 71; Mack Alspaugh (McCook), 4th with a 74; Jared Pilkington (Scottsbluff), 5th with a 76; Brian McMahon (Lexington), 6th with a 77; Grayson Minick (Broken Bow), 7th with a 77; Parker Cyza (Alliance), 8th with a 77; Austin Reynolds (Broken Bow), 9th with a 77; and Jonah Wright (Scottsbluff), 10th with a 77.

Team scores include: McCook 301; Scottsbluff 305; Broken Bow 310; Alliance 320; Sidney 332; Cozad 340; Chadron 340; Gering 342; Holdrege 345; Lexington 353; Gothenburg 371; Ogallala 373.

Bayard and Mitchell had a tough run against each other at the class C, district 5 tournament held on May 19 at the Four Winds Golf Course in Kimball.

Bayard took a four shot lead over second place Mitchell with a team score of 346. Roman Konvicka also snagged a third place finish with 77 for Bayard. Mitchell’s head coach, Brock Ehler, know they are going to be tough competition for state.

“Bayard has been pretty tough competition for us this season. We have played with them eight times this year and have only beaten them three times. They have a definite capability of going low but I also believe in our capabilities to perform well too,” Ehler said.

The course for the meet was in pretty great shape and Ehler said the weather was absolutely beautiful for a day of golf. Mitchell finished with a team score of 350 and placed two in the top ten. Bo McVay placed fourth with a 78 while Peyton Briggs finished tenth with an 83.

“The course in Kimball was up there in difficulty level for this tournament and I would compare it to the Scottsbluff Country Club. The greens were real nice and quick and the course was in great shape. I think the main thing to pay attention to when playing there is that it requires a lot of course knowledge. Since I have played there before, I was able to relay some of that knowledge onto the team which helped with decision making during the round that other teams may not have known about,” Ehler said.

Bayard head coach, Jim Roberts, was pleased with his team’s performance and knows the competition at the state tournament won’t be easy.

“During the district round we were hoping for something lower score wise but the course was playing tough so I still think we did a great job. The scores for the other districts still aren’t posted so it’s hard to tell where we stand as team yet but the hope is always eternal for the boys and they are confident they can do well,” Roberts said.

With the season’s end fast approaching, Bayard is constantly working on fine tuning their skills on the golf course.

“Our goals for the state tournament are to get down there and play it early so we are confident with the course when we play our rounds. We aren’t coasting, the boys are constantly working on their games and making adjustments and that’s the name of the game. You have to be able to adjust to the conditions and if that’s not possible then the name of the game becomes recovery,” Roberts said.

Roberts couldn’t be more proud of his team this season and has loved working with the group.

“This group of boys is excellent. They are mostly seniors and are great to be with. They really play off of each other and are all friends so they hang together well. It’s pretty neat. I also think that’s part of the reason we have been successful is because of how well they work together,” Roberts said.

With both Bayard and Mitchell being state bound, Ehler is remaining confident in his team’s ability to match up against the toughest teams in class C.

“Our goals going into the state tournament would be to go down and compete to the best of our capabilities. Most of all, I’d really like them to have fun and play the best golf that they can. There will be nerves and some struggles but the important thing is that they get through it as a team. Golf is such an up and down game so it’s important to remember not to give up and play not so much for the individual but for the team,” Ehler said.

Both Bayard and Mitchell will be in action on May 28-29 for their state tournament held in Lincoln at the Mahoney Golf Course.

Individual medalists include: Henry Heeg (Kimball), 1st with a 69; Brooks Coleman (Valentine), 2nd with a 76; Roman Konvicka (Bayard), 3rd with a 77; Bo McVay (Mitchell), 4th with a 78; Jordan Greenwood (Kimball), 5th with a 79; Dakota Swires (Bridgeport), 6th with a 79; Hunter Quinn (Southern Valley), 7th with an 80; Sam Sommers (Kearney Catholic), 8th with an 81; Ross Johnson (Stapleton/McPherson County), 9th with an 83; Peyton Briggs (Mitchell), 10th with an 83.

Team scores include: Bayard 346; Mitchell 350; Southern Valley 353; Kearney Catholic 354; Valentine 354; Kimball 361; Bridgeport 368; Ainsworth 385; Chase Country 392; Stapleton/McPherson Country 399; Dundy County-Stratton 401; Perkins County 405; Hershey 469; Gordon-Rushville 482.

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