Ashland High School enters the Class 1A state golf tournament today at Turkey Creek Golf Course in McPherson, and a major part of  the team’s success is the Stebens family, whose three golfers on the team, medal at most tournaments.

    Ashland’s only medalist at state last year was Corey Stebens who shot an 80 for fourth place.


    Ashland High School enters the Class 1A state golf tournament today at Turkey Creek Golf Course in McPherson, and a major part of  the team’s success is the Stebens family, whose three golfers on the team, medal at most tournaments.
    Ashland’s only medalist at state last year was Corey Stebens who shot an 80 for fourth place.
    In the Stebens family, golf is major part of life.
    “We have been playing it as little kids all together,” Ashland head coach Jesse Stebens said. “We get together at our family functions and play a lot.
    “Everybody in our family plays, even the girls and everybody. We all play. It is something we started when we started walking and we have done it ever since.”
    Jesse Stebens cousins — Austin Stebens and brothers Corey Stebens and Chance Stebens —form a family act.
    “I remember a lot of times (when I was little) and my dad was playing, he would drag me and my two brothers on the golf course with him, and he would teach us how to do things,” Chance Stebens said. “I take a lot of time at practice, my brother teaches me how to do things, and I look up at him and he teaches me a lot.”
    Ashland has won seven of nine tournaments it has competed in this year, and the three Stebens on the team have been a top of the leader board almost every time.
    In the Southern Plains-Iroquois Athletics Association tournament, Corey Stebens finished first and his cousin Austin Stebens was one stroke behind him in second place.
    “It is off and on every week we have a tournament,” Austin Stebens said. “Sometimes I will get it and then he will. He is a great player and a great teammate. The team is pretty good this year.”
    In a Class 1A regional tournament, Corey Stebens finished 18 holes tied with Chance Stebens for second place.
    “Any time he does something successful, I am proud of him.” Corey Stebens said of  his brother. “His golf game has come a long ways. Any time he beats me, I am pretty proud of him for that.”
    Corey Stebens defeated his brother in a tiebreaker round by sinking a birdie putt.
    “I told little brother to stop talking trash because big brother was going to come back and get him and he did,” Jesse Stebens said. “It was kind of fun, a little heckling going on and it was great.”

                                                   Jetmore
    Jetmore may not have qualified to go to state as a team, but majority of the members qualified as individuals.
    “I think it is cool that not just one of us get to go, but three of us get to go, so we can have fun as a team,” Jetmore golfer Clint Goebel said.
    The Longhorns will be represented by Clint Goebel, Andrew Briggs and Josh Appel. Goebel shot a 96, Briggs had a 91 and Appel shot a 100 at regionals to qualify for state.
    “I was kind of surprised (I qualified),” Goebel said. “I did not think I was going to go, shooting a 96.”
    In regionals, Jetmore was 11 strokes behind Greensburg for third place and the final team spot at state.
    Appel took the final qualifying spot, tying with Minneola’s Garrit Flax.
    Goebel is a senior and is going to state for his first time.
    “I think it is really cool I get to end it off by going to state,” Goebel said. “It is a good way to end my high school career.”
                                             Greensburg
    Greensburg took the final team spot at the state tournament, and if it wasn’t for Garth Einsel, the team may have not qualified.
    Einsel took first place in the tournament, and was the only Greensburg golfer to finish in the top 10, shooting an 83.
    Thomas Derstien’s score of 99 was the only other Greensburg golfer to shoot below a 100 at regionals.
    “Hopefully (at state), they will just play golf and have fun and not worry about the pressure,” Greensburg head coach Mick Kendall said.

     Greensburg showed earlier in the season, it has potential to do a lot better.
    In the SPIAA tournament, Garth Einsel, Thomas Derstein, and Gage Hosheit finished the front nine in the top five. All three of them finished the tournament in the top 10.
    The Rangers have made a tradition of going to state as Kendall said the school has sent a team to state the last six years.
    “It just shows what talent they got,” Kendall said. “It will help out (having been here before). The real help is the course knowledge. We played it (Sunday) and it seems easy, but it has some holes that can sneak up on you. It is a pretty unforgiving course.”
    Last year, Greensburg finished fourth in state, shooting a 345. Einsel led the team with an 82 and a 12th place finish.
                                                 Minneola
    Minneola sends one golfer to the state tourney this year, and the first junior in at least four years.
    Garrit Flax took the final qualifying spot, shooting a 100 at the regional, tying with Jetmore’s Josh Appel.
    “I was pretty excited about it,” Flax said. “I did not know I would make it. I knew I had a chance, but not a good one. When Coach told me, ‘We need to make hotel reservations’ as he walked out of the clubhouse, I was pretty happy.
    “I was happy going to state, whether it was the fifth spot or the first spot. Shooting a 100 was bad, but I still made it.”
    In a practice round at state on Sunday, Flax said he shot a 95, which is better than what he has done in any tournament this year. He said his tournament high is a 96 at Mariah Hills Golf Course.
    “I have only gotten better every year,” Flax said. “I may be able to make it to state and medal next year. I could medal this year, but it would take a great day.”
    Flax lives in the south end of Dodge City, but he said he likes the small-town feel in Minneola and that is why he attends the school. As far as travel time, he said it was about the same distance to Minneola High School as it is to Dodge City High School.
                                                   South Gray
    In 2009, South Gray shot a 380 for 10th place, and golfer Dustin Kirby said he hopes to improve from last year.
    “It was a blast last year and I did good on my practice round,” Kirby said. “Last year at state, I just blew up. This is my last year out for golf, so I hope to do a lot better.”
    The Rebels return three of their top four finishers at state from last year.
    None of them medaled, and Brett Bullinger’s 96 was the team’s top score.
    “State, when you get there the first time, you think the pressure is on,” Kirby said, “but after I think about it, it is just like a normal tournament. You do like you do normally, and you will do good. I got it in my head last year, that it was state and that is what killed me.”

                                                       Ingalls
    Slade Loewen took ninth at regionals, shooting a 92 to appear in his first state tournament.
    Loewen was accompanied to regionals with three other teammates, but none of them came close to qualifying.
    Ingalls did not send a golfer to state last year.
                                                  South Central
    Josh Webster played on a team of two during the year and he will be going to state alone.
    Webster shot a 93 in the regionals for 1oth place.
    He did not qualify for state last year.
                                                           2A
                                                        Kinsley
    After sending the entire team to the Class 2A state tournament last year, Reed Strate is the only Kinsley golfer to qualify this year.
    “He is playing real steady golf right now,” Kinsley golf coach Mark Anderson said. “I think he will play pretty good down here.”
    The 2A tournament starts today at the Crestwood Country Club in Pittsburg.
    “At Crestwood), the green is a little different than he is used to,” Anderson said. “He is doing a good job at keeping ball in play (in his practice round). I think he will do good.
    Strate shot a 91 at regionals at Mariah Hills Golf Course to qualify for state.
Meade
    State will be a new experience for sophomore Adrian Pfanenstiel, who is going for his first time.
    For at least the second straight year, Meade will send one golfer to state. They sent Skyler  Avis last year.
    Pfanenstiel improved by nine strokes on the back nine to shoot a 91 overall at regionals to qualify for state.

                                                           3A
                                                      Cimarron
    In his final chance to make the Class 3A state tournament, senior Genare Woofter shot an 86 at a regional golf tournament at Cimarron Golf Club in Cimarron to qualify.
    “I knew going into (regionals), I had a chance to make it (to state),” Woofter said. “I was not sure if I played well enough. Last year I was way off. This is my first year to even come close to anything.”
    Woofter finished his regional in seventh place and will be the only Cimarron golfer to tee off today at Smoky Hill Country Club in Hays for the state tournament.   
“It is kind of an individual sport,” Woofter said about going alone. “It is fun to have team around, and a few of my teammates are going to come watch.”
    Woofter said he plays at least nine holes everyday to become a better golfer.
    He added he has also played football, but likes a lot of things about golf better.
    “In golf, It is all up to yourself because it is mostly an individual game,” Woofter said. “If you do bad, it is your our fault. You can’t blame it on anybody. If you practice, your score will get better, that is what I like about it.”