Led by Blake Mullen, Kansas City Kansas Community College got the 2021 golf season off to an outstanding start.
A sophomore from Olathe East, Mullen won the Evangel University Spring Invitational championship as the Blue Devils finished a solid fourth in the 10-team tournament made up mainly of four-year colleges and universities.
Mullen trailed Central Methodist's Matias Baccola by two shots and Evangel's Jake Brown by one with an opening round 2-over par 73 but charged from behind on the final round with a par 71 (73-71-144) and one stroke in front of both Baccola and Brown for medalist honors. The tourney was played at Fremont Hills Country Club near Springfield, Mo., Monday and Tuesday.
"Blake's putting was sold and he played well enough that he probably could have finished 3 or 4 under par were it not for a couple of holes including an 8 and on a par 5," said KCKCC Coach Gary Shrader. "It was very windy and the course played tough, With Bermuda fairways the ball kept rolling off the side of the fairway."
Three other Blue Devils golfers finished in the Top 20 led by Carson Towey, a freshman from Andover Central, who tied for seventh with rounds of 78-76-154. Cheney sophomore Dylan Freund tied for 17th with a 78-83-161 and freshman Colby Unruh of Overland Park tied for 20th at 86-80-166.
"It was a good learning experience for our two freshmen," said Shrader. "We had to designate five players for scoring and our other three players played as individuals and as a coach I didn't pick the best five. And two players were hurt that effected their scores, Keegan Ellington and Kellen Welsh."
Jacob Hall of Tonganoxie tied for 24th (86-82-168), Mark Towey of Andover Central shared 29th (87-83-170) and Kellen Welsh of Olathe West was 50th (92-99-191) despite a recurring wrist injury. Ellington was unable to finish because of injury.
Host Evangel took the team title with a 36-hole total of 610 followed by Kirkwood Community College, 612; Central Methodist, 619; KCKCC, 632; Graceland, 671; College of the Ozarks, 678; Dordt College, 686; Westminster, 689; Evangel B, 701- and Crowley Ridge College, 718.
The Blue Devils return to action May 22-23 when they'll compete in the Washburn Invitational in Topeka. It's the only tournament Shrader will be limited to five players.