Nestled in the rolling hills of far western Kansas sits the town of Goodland. It is not what you would call a golf mecca, but don't tell that to Gage Ihrig. He has quietly become one of the top golfers in the state.
“His work ethic is as good as any kid I've ever seen,” said Goodland golf coach Terry Daise. “We'll go through a two hour practice and then he'll put in another couple of hours in on his own.”
Ihrig won a state championship as a sophomore in Class 3A and followed it up with a 4th place finish in class 4A last season. You might think that kind of success early might create a lot of pressure.
“Maybe others expect me to do better,” said Ihrig. “But I've always tried to win everything I do and it's nice to get a little bit of recognition.”
His coach says he has been in the spotlight for some time.
“Gage has been on our varsity ever since he was a freshman and he's been one of our top golfers ever since he was a freshman,” said Daise.
And besides he's always got someone close nipping at his heels...and pushing him on the course...his brother Gannon.
“It's always good to beat up on your brother you know,” said Gannon Ihrig. “It's nice to have him out here to practice and everything, on the weekends or after practice or whatever. Just to have someone to practice with and keep you company kind of.”
Adds Gage Ihrig. “It's always competitive, you never want to lose to your brother cause if you leave you hear about it when you get home to. So you know it's good to have someone always pushing you that's for sure.”
Ihrig has signed to golf next year at Wichita State, which serves as a perfect example to athletes all across the state of Kansas. If you are good at what you do, Division One schools are going to find you.
“That's all I wanted was a chance to get to play division one golf and I got a chance and I'm going to make the most of it,” said Ihrig.
Though Ihrig does have some unfinished business for this season...
“No doubt win another state championship” said Ihrig. “Win another one away from home. I won one out here. I'd like to prove that I can win one you know besides just at my home course.”