Battling the elements and truncated numbers due to an ill-timed Spring Break week, the Powell High School golf team still managed to place fifth at its home invitational on Friday.
Lander finished in the top spot at Powell Golf Club, with an overall score of 309 — with four Tigers carding rounds in the 70s. Medalist Dominic Yates led the Lander charge with a 74, beating Thermopolis’ Hardy Johnson by a stroke.
Sheridan carded a 345 for second place, Worland was third with a 374 and Thermopolis claimed the fourth spot with a 375. The Panthers rounded out the top five with a 402. The Lady Panthers did not have a golfer in the event.
“We were able to squeeze our tournament in on Friday just before the rain and wind kicked up,” said PHS head coach Troy Hildebrand. “With Spring Break falling on this week, we only had four boys playing. All three of the girls were out of town and some other players had previous commitments, which worked out just fine.”
George Higgins was the top Panther in the field, carding an 82 to finish seventh on the boys’ side.
“George [Higgins] put together his best tournament round to date as he shot 39-43 Friday,” Hildebrand said. “As always with George, he seems to improve each week and he is working very hard on his game.”
Higgins has already played 30 rounds this spring, using that time to target areas which need improvement. Hildebrand said the future looks bright for the young golfer.
“He [Higgins] could break 80 before the end of our spring season, and I’m very confident that he will be there this summer and next fall,” he said.
Crandell Sanders was second for the Panthers with a 92, having a couple tough stretches. The junior has struggled to find his groove this spring, but Hildebrand is confident that as the spring and summer progress, Sanders will be ready to go in the fall.
“He [Sanders] has been a tremendously valuable player for us the past three seasons, and I know that he will work very hard to build momentum over the summer that will carry into our fall season,” Hildebrand said. “Crandell is a golf junkie and he knows what he is doing; he will always take the steps to keep improving.”
Yogi Sullivan carded a 111, just one stroke off his best tournament round. With a little more work over the summer, Hildebrand said Sullivan has the potential to be a key piece of the team in the fall.
“Yogi [Sullivan] had one very tough hole, or he would have been under 110 in a tournament for the first time in his career,” Hildebrand said. “He seems to be stringing together more and more good shots and the experience he is getting on the course is very valuable for him.”
Jacob Thiel rounded out the four Panthers, carding a 117 in his first-ever tournament round.
“He [Thiel] has worked hard over the past couple of years, and really seems to be figuring out more and more about the game,” Hildebrand said. “He will have another chance to get out ... in Cody and keep getting a feel for tournament golf.”
The golf teams will be in Cody tomorrow (Friday) for the Cody Invitational at Olive Glenn Golf Course. Hildebrand expects to have a larger roster competing, including the Lady Panthers. The spring season will conclude May 10 in Lander.