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Conditions no problem for Kovar

Hickman sophomore shoots a 36 to lead the Kewpies in less than ideal playing conditions.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:28 a.m. CDT, Saturday, June 21, 2008

Some classmates teased him during school, but Kyle Kovar’s pink, teal, yellow and blue plaid shorts turned out to be good luck Tuesday afternoon.

The Bermuda shorts and Kovar’s solid performance brightened a blustery, wet afternoon at Lake of the Woods Golf Course. Despite the conditions, Kovar led Hickman to a 152-173 victory against Marshall.

Kovar had an easy time adding up his scorecard after the nine-hole round. He made a 4 on every hole for a 1-over 36. He bogeyed both par-3s and birdied the par-5, 495-yard ninth. Softened by rain, the greens held well. Kovar credited his winning round to good chipping.

“I didn’t hit very many greens but I could get up and down most of the time,” Kovar said. “Yesterday, we were playing and the greens were really hard. Today you could actually fly it into the green.”

Chris Johnson, a freshman, shot a 38 to finish second. Max Gibbs and Brad Mull led the Owls at 42, tying for sixth.Kovar is one of the players whom Kewpies coach Clark Swisher said can shoot 1 or 2 over par every round.

“Those top four went to the state tournament last year,” Swisher said. “This is a crew that our expectations and their own expectations are kind of high.”

Josh Brady and DJ Chung typically lead the Kewpies. When the team won last weekend’s Warrenton Tournament with a school record 285, Chung took top honors (69), Brady came in second (70) and Kovar was third (72).

“DJ is probably the most consistent player, but Brady’s kind of the team leader and when he doesn’t play well he’s not happy, which is OK,” Swisher said.

“Kyle is coming into his own a little bit. He struggled early in the season a little bit. Now he’s in the (No.) 3 spot.”

Brady, who often strikes the ball with a lot of power, had trouble in the wind. It gusted to 25 mph from the south. Brady carded a 41, his first round higher than 40 in three weeks, Swisher said.

Chung struggled, too, though he finished well with two pars for a 39 that tied teammate Ben Merideth for third.

After their record-breaking score in Warrenton, the Kewpies’ confidence level is high. The team, despite having no seniors, has its sights set high heading into the postseason, which begins in 10 days.

“It’s pretty fun because we’re walking around school and everything, and everybody comes up to us and says congratulations,” Kovar said. “We kind of know we’re the best team in state but a lot of times we don’t live up to our potential.”

Tuesday’s meet was scheduled as an 18-hole event, but it was cut in half after about two holes. The nine-hole event had a shotgun start.

“The course manager saw a lot of thunderstorms coming down and it looked like it’s going to be here about 6:30, 7 o’clock,” Swisher said. “We ended up playing nine, and some of the kids had mentally set themselves to play 18.”


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