By Denning Gerig
Wednesday’s Kansas Junior Golf Association tournament at Hidden Lakes in Derby presented the participants with an opportunity to keep their game sharp during the summer months.
For the spectators, it offered a glimpse at several generations of Kansas’s golfing talent.
Peyton Austin, the son of PGA Tour Champions veteran Woody Austin, finished in a tie for third in the 16 & Over Division, shooting a 3-over 75. Austin finished one stroke back of Quentin Shaw and Cooper Shaw, of Salina Sacred Heart and Wamego, respectively.
For Austin, who will be a junior at Rose Hill next season, the return to Hidden Lakes gave him a chance to compete on the course where his high school team practices in the spring.
“I know the course, I know all the advantages, all the lines to go around, but I’ve always struggled putting here,” Austin said. “So if I can fix that, then I’ll really have quite an advantage, I think.”
While the familiarity proved an asset, an inconsistent short game prevented Austin from leaving completely satisfied with his performance.
“It was a little bit of a struggle, I had to save a few,” Austin said. “Made a bomb, then missed two four-footers. So I’m a little disappointed that happened, but nonetheless, I feel like I played decent.”
Shaw, meanwhile, showcased a deft touch from the fairway, sticking several wedges to within several feet on his way to a tie for first. Finishing at the top is nothing new for the junior, who served as a vital cog on the Salina Sacred Heart team that won the Class 2A State Tournament by 28 strokes back in May.
One of his teammates on the squad was Grant Herrenbruck, who won the individual state title with a 74. Grant’s younger brother, Tate, who will be a freshman at Sacred Heart in the fall, competed in the 14-15 year old division, finishing with a 73.
The younger Herrenbruck also battled some erratic putting at times, but showed off a smooth stroke off the tee that more often than not landed him in the middle of the fairway.
Having a state champion for an older brother can prove a difficult standard to live up to, but Tate says he appreciates the opportunity to compete both with and against the best.
“Having Grant helps me a lot, because I can compete against him and practice with him, which makes me a better player,” Herrenbruck said. “The course today was short and in good shape, the greens are soft, you can probably make a lot of birdies if you putt well.”