Three-time Kansas high school state champion returns for Wichita Open

Kansas City native Joseph Winslow, who won three individual state titles at St. Thomas Aquinas from 2008-11, returned to his home state to play in the Wichita Open on Thursday. Winslow finished with a 1-over round of 71.
Kansas City native Joseph Winslow, who won three individual state titles at St. Thomas Aquinas from 2008-11, returned to his home state to play in the Wichita Open on Thursday. Winslow finished with a 1-over round of 71. Courtesy

Joe Winslow is one of just eight golfers in Kansas state history to win three individual state championships in high school, claiming state titles in 2008, 2009 and 2011 at St. Thomas Aquinas.

But Joe isn’t the only state champion from the Winslow family. In fact, both of his younger siblings — Baile (2011) and Michael (2018) — have also won individual state titles while at Aquinas.

Carrying on the Winslow family name is something Joe does with pride, as he continued his first season on the Korn Ferry Tour (formerly known as the Tour) on Thursday in the opening round of the Wichita Open at the north course of Crestview Country Club. Winslow finished 8 strokes behind the leaders with a 1-over round of 71.

Taylor Moore, Henrik Norlander, Michael Hebert and Will Cannon all finished day 1 tied for the lead at 7-under 63, the first time in the Wichita Open since 1998 that at least four golfers have been tied for the lead after Thursday.

“Golf is just one part of our whole family dynamic,” Winslow said. “It’s something we all like to do, but at the end of the day it’s not the end-all, be-all for us. Being able to hang out and just have fun and enjoy spending that time together is what’s really important. Golf is a big part of what we do, but I wouldn’t say it’s everything.”

Since graduating from Aquinas in 2011, Winslow had a successful collegiate career at Iowa and South Florida and then turned professional in 2015. Since joining the Korn Ferry Tour this year, Winslow ranks No. 115 and is looking to make the cut for the first time in the last five tournaments.

On Thursday, Winslow was playing well through 15 holes at 3-under. But a double-bogey on the par 4 No. 16 led to back-to-back bogeys at the end of the round.

“I didn’t really have my best stuff out there today,” Winslow said. “I played pretty well for about the first 15 holes, but didn’t finish off quite the way I wanted to. I thought the course was pretty gettable today. Overall, I’m really positive. I just have to finish better (Friday).”

The Korn Ferry Tour had a stop in Kansas City earlier this season, but the event was on Missouri side of the state line. That’s why playing in the Wichita Open was a special event to Winslow.

“It definitely feels good since this is my home-state event and the one event in Kansas,” Winslow said. “I always like playing in central Kansas since I can squeeze a few nights in my own bed. I always enjoy playing in Wichita, the people are always really friendly and it’s nice to have that local flare.”

The Winslow family will be split between Kansas City and Wichita this week since Joe is playing in Wichita on the Korn Ferry Tour, while younger brother Michael is playing in the Watson Challenge in Kansas City.

Growing up living on Shadow Glen Golf Club, KC’s top private golf course, Joe said that each of the Winslow siblings were given a head start on their golfing career. His father, Tony, was a talented golfer himself, while his mother, Jennifer, doesn’t play but helped the children with the mental side of the game.

“We were all really fortunate growing up and my dad did a great job coaching each one of us,” Winslow said. “He’s very knowledgeable of the game, and he’s been playing the game and going through all of the things we’ve gone through too. And then my mom is really involved and helps us stay positive, and she does a great job of making sure we’re always doing the right thing every day.”

Even though there is a 10-year age gap between the oldest and youngest, the Winslow siblings have been competitive in golf outings in recent years.

According to Joe, the oldest still leads the all-time wins list in the family.

“But Baile really came a long way in her game and in a quick span, so that was really impressive, and now she’s working in the Kansas City Golf Association,” Winslow said. “Michael is a pretty spectacular player himself, but I have 10 years on him. He’s growing up to make it a more fair fight, though and he’s clipped me a couple of times, but I make sure he has to give me his best any time we play.”

Regardless of how his time at the Wichita Open ends this week, Winslow said he’s already enjoyed his time back in Kansas and seeing family.

But he will be looking for his fourth top-30 finish of the season, as Winslow’s season-best result has been a tie for 26th place back in April.

“Being around home has reminded me of spending time with (dad) out on the golf course,” Winslow said. “Any time I was able to go play nine or 18 holes with him was a really good time. I was fortunate to have some good friends at the club and we had some fun father-son games, and then when Michael and Baile started playing, it turned into a foursome with just the four of us. Those are some of my favorite memories.”

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