ARK CITY — Andover Central senior golfer Randall Vautravers admits that his focus intensifies at the more important tournaments.
In fact, just last year, Vautravers won regionals, then went on to lead the Jaguars to the Class 5A title.
Monday afternoon at Ark City Country Club, Vautravers again came up big.
He shot a 2-over 74 and defeated Bishop Carroll's Caleb Childs on the sixth playoff hole to win his second consecutive regional medalist title. Kapaun Mount Carmel won the team title.
"I hope this carries over to next week, especially since I've won there before," Vautravers said of his first place regional medal at Winfield Country Club last year, the site of next week's state tournament. "I know the course really well, which will help."
Vautravers made quick work of the front nine. He pared the first five holes, before making birdie on the par-5 sixth.
With his ball-striking not the sharpest, Vautravers used his overwhelming length to give himself scoring opportunities. Oftentimes, his drives exceeded 300 yards.
In contrast to Vautravers, Childs was steady in striking the ball. He hit 13 greens and 9 of 14 fairways on his round, which picked up considerably on the back nine, after shooting 39 on the front.
Following a bogey on 10, Childs made birdie on the par-5 13th and on the difficult 200-yard, par-3 17th.
It actually turned out that both players could have won medalist honors in regulation.
Heading into No. 17 at 1-under, Vautravers missed a 20-foot putt for par and then went long on his approach shot on No. 18 and wound up making double-bogey.
"I hit my approach perfect," Vautravers said. "The wind never knocked it down — there wasn't much I could have done."
Childs, who played two groups behind Vautravers, was 1-over heading to 18, but three-putted for bogey.
"There were a couple of putts that I wished would have dropped today," Childs said. "I putted well, they just weren't falling."
After both players made par on the first two playoff holes, Childs' drive went right into long grass on the third playoff hole (No. 12). After pitching out, Childs hit his third shot to 15 feet and he rolled that in. Vautravers two-putted for par.
"I thought I gave myself a fresh start after I made that putt," Childs said. "I saved myself and I gave myself another chance."
On the fifth playoff hole (No. 9), it seemed as though Childs had the medalist honors locked up. Vautravers took three shots to escape the trees and wound up behind the green pitching his fourth shot, while Childs had 10 feet for par. Vautravers pitch wound up eight feet short.
For most of the way, Childs putt looked like it was tracking for the hole, only to take a quick turn to the right at the end as the ball lipped out. Vautravers calmly sank his putt.
"The golfing Gods were looking out for me on that hole," Vautravers said. "I thought that made up for the third playoff hole."
"I hit it where I wanted to," Childs said. "That's kind of how my day went on the greens."
On the final hole, Vautravers' approach shot landed 12 feet behind the hole, while Childs was 25 feet below and lagged his birdie putt to five feet.
Similar to last year at state, when he calmly sank a winding putt for birdie to seal the Jaguars' title, Vautravers birdie putt found the bottom of the cup and he was champion again.
Team results — 1. Kapaun 303 (Cantele 75, Gebert 75, Glasgow 76, Lazzo 77, Auer 79, Engel 85), 2. Carroll 320 (Childs 74, Swisher 79, Dreiling 83, Peter 84, Hoefling 88, Iseman 91), 3. Andover Central 323 (Vautravers 74, Anderson 81, Sherman 83, Holt 85, Blickenstaff 86, Banning 88), 4. Winfield 329, 5. Ark City 330, 6. Andover 337, 8. West 554.
Other qualifiers — 1. Shaw, Ark City 76, 2. Bryan, Winfield 77, 3. Mihelic, Andover 78, 4. Smith, Ark City 79, 5. Hoover, Andover 81