HESSTON — Newton sophomore Lindsey Warsnak might be one of the most improved golfers, not just for the Railers, but for the entire state.
After getting shut out of the medal standings for most of last season, Warsnak has been in the hardware hunt in four of the five tournaments she’s played, including Friday’s Buhler Invitational at the Hesston Golf Course.
Warsnak finished sixth with an 85, a personal best for an 18-hole tournament.
"I started off in a little rough patch, but after the first three or four holes, I got into it and started doing better," Warsnak said. "The back nine was really good for me. That brought my score back to really good."
She cited a par on hole nine (she started the day on the back nine) as her best of the day.
"I hit a really, really nice drive," she said. "My chip was about the best I could get it. Then I two-putted for a par. No. 1, I birdied that hole with a really nice drive, I chipped and I putted."
She cited a heavy dose of summer play as the reason for her improvement.
"Last year, I never got a medal or anything. This year, I got a few," she said. "I feel a lot more confident. My scores have shown that. I played in a thing called the Interclub in Wichita. Those are tournaments every single week. I played a lot of different courses. I played a lot of country clubs like Crestview and Terradyne. I got really good practice. I also played a lot at Sand Creek (Station) and here at Hesston."
Warsnak is shooting for a state berth this season.
"I definitely want to improve my game," Warsnak said. "I think it will go well. I just have to keep practicing."
Abby Donovan of Concordia, Andi Siebert of Manhattan and Avery Blasi of Pratt all tied for top medalist honors at 81. Donovan won the tie-breaker, followed by Siebert in second and Blasi in third.
Jaela Albers of Andale was fourth at 82. Lauren Specht of Buhler was fifth at 85.
Warsnak lost the scorecard tie-breaker to Specht.
Newton took fourth in the team standings at 381, one of the Railers’ better 18-hole team scores this season. Manhattan win at 347, followed by Buhler at 369 and Andale at 377.
Other Newton golfers included Mallory Seirer at 95, Jaye Skinner at 99, Alyssa Lujano at 102, Cadence Altum at 104 and Anna Harder at 130.
"It’s a really good score for us, which is what we’re working on right now," Newton coach Joanie Pauls said. "We’re still working on the mental part of it, eliminating the big mistakes and big numbers. Our scores are a lot better than last year."
Newton has a couple weeks left before league and regionals. Just three teams per regional will qualify for state this year. Just five players will compete at regionals and state.
"This is one of our strongest years to have a possibility to go as a whole team and then to find out that they will take one team out of the qualifiers," Pauls said. "We go to Hutch Thursday, and that will be a smaller tournament than usual. Then we host league on Tuesday (Oct. 6) at Sand Creek Station."
Newton plays at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Hutchinson Invitational at Carey Park.