With the sun shining and wind whipping across the greens, the Dodge City Red Demon golf team hosted their own invitational on Thursday afternoon, on a mission to capture their third win of the year in just their third tournament. The Demons would need a standout performance from top to bottom to eclipse the talented field, but they were able to take advantage of their home course at Mariah Hills to get the job done.


With the sun shining and wind whipping across the greens, the Dodge City Red Demon golf team hosted their own invitational on Thursday afternoon, on a mission to capture their third win of the year in just their third tournament. The Demons would need a standout performance from top to bottom to eclipse the talented field, but they were able to take advantage of their home course at Mariah Hills to get the job done.
     Five of the six Dodge City golfers finished within the top 10, as junior Zach Kirby won individual medalist honors with his 3-over, 75 round. It was an impressive showing for the Demons, as four golfers shot in 70s, including a 77 from Levi Bone and a 78 from sophomore Brayden Winans — the first time he has ever shot better than 80. Bone finished second, while Winans (fourth), Brad Hutton (79-seventh), and Zach Norton (80-10th) rounded out the top 10 finishers for Dodge.
     “I think one of the most challenging things out there today was the speed of the greens, they were fast and there were some pretty difficult pin positions,” said head coach Jim Mapel. “When you play at home, it’s almost like you try too hard, because there’s a lot of people watching, people you’re familiar with. You want to do well. I think everyone relaxed after a while and settled down after a while.”
     It was the kind of day every team dreams about, as their total of 309 held off a solid Ulysses Tigers squad, which shot 320 in the blustery conditions. In third was Garden City with a 329, who continue to prove that the Western Athletic Conference title race is far from over, even with Dodge City’s dominant showing on Thursday.
     For Kirby, this was his first win of the season, as he has consistently been near the top of the Demon lineup. His performance on Thursday was aided by his ability to drive the ball well off the tee, even if his short game and putting let him down in certain areas of the course.
     “I hit the ball really well today, I felt like I hit a lot of greens and that made today pretty easy as far as shooting as well as I did,” Kirby said. “I had a lot of little, silly mistakes, but I thought I played pretty well.”
     With the win, the Demons remain perfect in tournaments this season, winning all three meets they’ve competed at. Perhaps even more fascinating is the fact that in those three victories, Dodge City has had a different leading scorer in each of them.
     “This is something you always want as a coach, and that seldom happens with a golf team. Usually you have two or three guys, and we have six of those guys right now,” Mapel said. “It makes them competitive against each other, and of course they’re competing against each other in the WAC. The whole team is just extra competitive, they want to beat each other, which they should. And that makes us better.”
     Despite having three wins as a squad, the Demons will now lace up their Footjoys for a crack at a tournament that has always slipped past them in Topeka on Monday. That invite will feature 23 of the best teams from the state of Kansas, all playing on one of the premiere courses in the state.
     The Demons have yet to finish better than seventh in this upcoming tournament, but with all the confidence and momentum on their side, this next week will be a good gauge to see where this team stands as they look to compete for a State title in a few weeks.
     “Our next two tournaments are our most challenging, competition wise,” Mapel said. “In Topeka, we’re going to be playing a lot of those eastern Kansas schools that we’ll see later on down the road, and it’s going to be a big challenge. I would like to think that these guys are thinking that they want to compete for that title. It’s a great time for us to play in those tournaments.”
     As for Kirby and the rest of the team, they are brimming with confidence and are anxious to get things underway on Monday.
     “We’re trying to do something toward the end of the year here, try to play well when it counts. It’s good to play well now, but when the big tournaments roll around in May, you want to play well,” Kirby said. “I’m glad the team’s playing real well and we’re having a lot of fun, no doubt, we’re having a blast.”