Kansas City Kansas Community College has its first Jayhawk Conference golf medalist in more than a decade.
The only golfer in a field of 46 players to shoot par, Blue Devil freshman Micah Morris' round of 73-71-144 in inclement weather at Colbert Hills in Manhattan Monday took individual honors in the first Jayhawk Designated Tournament of 2017. He becomes the first KCKCC golfer to win a designated conference tournament since Garrett Smith in 2006.
"Really solid on a rain-saturated tough golf course," KCKCC Coach Gary Shrader assessed Morris' performance. "What I was impressed with was that it was chilly, it was damp and they played in carts for 36 holes. When you're riding you don't have the time to gather your thoughts on your next shots and he shot par. To me that was very impressive. I was super proud."
Shrader said a shot between two rocks in a hazard played at an unplayable lie cost Morris a sub-par tournament. "It misted most of the day but it was not the moisture in the air but the course was so saturated from rain the day and night before that really made it play long and tough," said Shrader.
Only two other golfers came within four strokes of Morris. Jakkapat Horsangchai of Barton finished a stroke back at 145 with Nick Nagy of Dodge City third at 147. Three other golfers, Dodge City's Witchayapat Sinsrang, Barton's Thitipong Homruen and Hutchinson's Wil Arnold, tied for fourth at 149 on the challenging Colbert course that played at 7,049 yards.
Morris' final round one-under par 71 pulled the Blue Devils into a tie for third place with Barton County at 609 behind Dodge City (595) and Hutchinson (604). Garden City was fifth at 635 followed by Independence (649), Coffeyville (654) and Allen County (655).
Sophomore Jeremy Dunham of Derby tied for seventh at 76-74-150 with Marc McClain of Bonner Springs tied for 19th at 80-77-157. Freshman Bobby Armstrong finished alone in 23rd with a 79-79-158. Nick Wagner (82-82-164) tied for 34th and Evan Shartzer shared 36th (83-82-165).
The only non-Kansan on the Blue Devil team, Morris was one of 13 children home-schooled in Guthrie, Okla. He came to Kansas City, Kan., two years ago this coming summer to work for an uncle, Jerry Clark. "He had a cousin, Garrett Clark, and they started playing but being home-schooled he had never played competitive high school golf until he came to KCKCC," said Shrader. Morris was red-shirted last season. "That's what makes all this so impressive was Monday was his first exposure to Jayhawk Conference golf."
The third place tie came on the heels of a KCKCC championship in the Graceland Spring Invitational at Mozingo Lake in Maryville Friday and a second place finish in a snow-shortened Ottawa Tournament a week earlier.
The Blue Devils are back in action this weekend in the Bethel Invitational which will be played at Hesston Saturday and Sand Creek in Newton on Sunday.
KCKCC freshman Micah Morris launches a drive on the 600-yard seventh hole at Colbert Hills in Manhattan Monday on the way to becoming the first Blue Devil to win medalist honors in a Jayhawk Conference Designated Tournament since 2006. (KCKCC Photo by Gary Shrader)