CHENEY — At the turn Monday, Collegiate senior Cameron Chugg knew he was off to a shaky start after a 4-over-par 40 on the front nine, including a triple-bogey.
But on the back nine, Chugg blistered the Cherry Oaks course with a 5-under 31 for a 71 and helped the defending state champion Spartans to a decisive victory in the Class 3A boys golf regional.
“I know that’s the best nine-hole round he’s shot,” Spartans coach Kevin Reed said. “That’s what seniors need to do. He kept after it, and obviously some things started going his way, which is nice.
“He’s shot a lot of good rounds this year; he just hasn’t felt like he’s putted real well and gotten as much out of his round as he’d like to. I think today (Monday), he did.”
Chugg was able to pair booming tee shots with an effective short game for a seven-stroke individual victory over Sedgwick’s Owen Gartner (78).
“Everything just kind of came together and started clicking,” Chugg said.
Weekend rains had left the course somewhat soft, but not even that could derail Chugg’s hot back nine. At the par-5 17th, his shot landed on the green, but in an unmarked repair spot. He was allowed to chip it out as well as putt it. Putting it resulted in a birdie on the hole.
“I hit the green in two, and the assistant pro said it was ‘ground under repair’ that hadn’t been marked,” Chugg said. “It was like a hole that had hard sand in the bottom. I played two balls just to make sure. I parred the first one and birdied the second one, and that allowed me to shoot 71.”
Teammates Ian Trebilcock — the 2014 state individual medalist — and Jack Larsen each finished with 81s after shooting 38 and 39, respectively, on the front nine. Kendall Reed’s 83 rounded out the Collegiate scoring for a 316 total – 40 shots better than runner-up Cheney.
Another key for Chugg was doing well on the par-5 holes, he said. Also of note was his birdie on the 382-yard, par-4 13th, where his tee shot cleared the water hazard and avoided the curve of the dogleg hole. The other golfers in his foursome laid up short and played the curve.
“He can hit it a ton,” said Reed, who said he wasn’t surprised Chugg shot over the water hazard.
Collegiate and Cheney advanced to next Tuesday’s state tournament at Hesston.
Cardinals coach Tim Hiebert knew that even though the mushy course raised scores, Collegiate couldn’t be headed.
“We knew the race was going to be for second place,” Hiebert said. “We settled on just doing what we can do, and that showed up as 90s (Monday). Other days, it’s 80s.”