DCHS wins home invitational with school record 290, Norton wins medalist honors
This is the way you're supposed to win a golf team title.
Break the school record on your home course with all six golfers placing in the top 10, including having a player who hadn't shot below 80 all season win the individual medalist honor at even par.
That is exactly how the Dodge City Red Demons clinched their second straight Western Athletic Conference title Tuesday afternoon in their home invitational at Mariah Hills.
The Red Demons shot a school-record 290, two shots better than the previous record set last year in the Liberal Invitational. With their fourth league victory in as many tournaments this season, Dodge City gave themselves an insurmountable cushion with one league tournament remaining.
"I'm not putting down Liberal, but it's a fairly short course, so 290 here is a good score," said Dodge City head coach Jim Mapel. "It's a legitimate 290 with the length of the course and the wind picking up the last half of the day that made it more challenging. It was just one of those great days."
Zach Norton shot even-par 71 (including being the only player to shoot under par on the back nine), by far his best round of the season and his career. Norton said making birdies on holes 14 and 15 were crucial to his play.
"I got two birdies in a row and that got the momentum flowing," said Norton, who signed earlier this month to play golf at Dodge City Community College. "One thing led to another and was able to shoot under par. It's great to win the league two years in a row and we'll try our best to keep winning in it."
Mapel said he was happy to see Norton come away like he did to win the tournament.
"Zach has worked so hard this season and today was his day," Mapel said. "He was tuned in and I was just happy for him."
Teammate Jace Norton was a shot behind in second place with a 72, his best round.
Norton shot 36 on both the front and the back nine. Norton said getting the team to put up good scores from top to bottom was big for the team, as well as winning the home tournament and league title.
"We hadn't done that this year; to do that and break the school record was just the cherry on the top," Norton said. "I played solid as an individual and the whole team played well as a team. This is huge momentum for us as we go into regionals, and possibly state."
Zach Kirby, who had won individual medalist honors in the previous two tournaments, finished tied for third with 73; Levi Bone and Brad Hutton tied for fifth at 74; and Brayden Winans tied for eighth at 80.
"I'm happy for my kids because every single one of them played well today," Mapel said. "Zach Kirby, Levi and Brad have been playing solid all season and then you have Jace Larson shoot his best round of the year and Zach Norton shoot his best round of his career."
Dodge City now has 20 points after the four league matches, five more than second place Hays. Great Bend and Garden City are tied with 11.5 points each and Liberal is fifth with five points.
Hays finished second in the 10-team invitational with a 323, followed by Maize at 327. Hays Thomas More Prep was fourth (342), followed by Garden City (343), Wichita Northwest (345), Liberal (347), Great Bend (348), Wichita East (354) and Wichita North (388).