With a pair of proven veterans to lead the way, Kansas City Kansas Community College will open the 2017 golf season Monday and Tuesday in the Ottawa Invitational.
Micah Morris, who became the first Blue Devil to win a designated tournament in 10 years last season, and Bobby Armstrong, who qualified for the 2016 NJCAA Division II national tournament, return to lead the way.
A native of Coyle, Okla., and a redshirt freshman, Morris won last year's first designated tournament at Colbert Hills in Manhattan to earn first team All-Jayhawk Conference honors. More recently, he finished runnerup in the 2017 Wyandotte County Open. Armstrong, a graduate of Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita, was a second team All-Jayhawk pick. A third all-conference pick, Nick Wagner of Wichita Maize South, will become eligible for spring play the second semester.
They'll be joined by sophomore Trevor Bauer, who transferred from Hutchinson; and freshmen Zach Miller of Anderson High in Greeley, KS.; Evin Wheaton of Leavenworth Immaculata; Harry Welch of Olathe Northwest; and Jack Flynn of Lawrence Free State.
The Kansas Class 1A state champion, Wheaton is the only true freshman of the newcomers. Miller red-shirted a year ago with the Blue Devils while Flynn and Welch each spent one academic year at the University of Kansas before transferring to KCKCC.
"We're in a good situation because all seven are capable of competing at the college level," says Coach Gary Shrader. "I'll be able to take all seven to Ottawa which will give me an idea on the five I'll be taking the next week. I want to get all seven a chance to play this fall."
Heading into the opener, the competition is wide open. "Zach Miller was with us last year and Trevor Bauer was well-coached at Hutch so they're right in the mix," said Shrader. "Jack Flynn and Evin Wheaton have been the biggest surprises. Flynn does a great job of keeping the ball in play and Wheaton has shown he can compete at this level."
A heavy schedule of afternoon classes has limited the practice time for Harry Welch, who is on track to get a degree in engineering but will be given every opportunity to vie for a starting berth.
The Blue Devils will play in seven tournaments this fall including the KCKCC Invitational which will be hosted at Dub's Dread Oct. 16-17. "I think we have a chance to be pretty good," says Shrader.
2017 KCKCC Fall Golf Schedule
Sept. 11-12 – Ottawa (Eagle Bend)
Sept. 18-19 – Evangel (Springfield, Rivercut)
Sept. 25-26 – Missouri Valley (Marshall, Indian Foothills)
Oct. 2-3 – Kansas Wesleyan (Salina CC)\
Oct. 9-10 – William Woods (Fulton, Mo.)
Oct. 16-17 – KCKCC Invitational (Dub's Dread)
Oct. 23-24 – Park University (National/Deuce)
2017 KCKCC Golf Roster
Micah Morris So. Coyle, Okla.
Bobby Armstrong So. Wichita, KS. (Bishop Carroll)
Nick Wagner So. Wichita, KS. (Maize South)
Trevor Bauer So. Wichita, KS. (Maize South)
Zach Miller Fr. Greeley, KS. (Anderson High)
Harry Welch Fr. Olathe (Northwest)
Jack Flynn Fr. Lawrence (Free State)
Evin Wheaton Fr. Leavenworth (Immaculata)