Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Sanger golfer has lots of drive
After the first round of the Class 3A Region II tournament, Kynze Mann was disappointed.
Sure, the Sanger junior was tied for fifth and in position a claim a berth at the state tournament. Still, her first-round 88 was far below what she’d come to expect from herself — even in tough conditions as storms rolled through Pottsboro in mid-April.
No worries, though. Mann would wait, she figured. Do better the next round, put herself in position and enjoy the trip to Austin nearly a month later. So she waited.
The teams took to the course again after a break to let the storms move through, only to be called back in moments later to wait some more. Finally, tournament officials made the decision to call off the second round of the tournament and, all of the sudden, Mann just watched the stakes get a lot higher.
That first-round 88? It was going to stand alone. That tie for the last individual spot at the state tournament? She was going to have to play for it right then and there in a sudden-death playoff.
“After the first round I was scared I wasn’t going to have a chance at all. I was just happy to have the chance to be in a playoff,” Mann said, before quickly adding with a short laugh, “I think that was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been.”
As nervous as she might have been, Mann did her part. She went three holes with Snowy White of Paris North Lamar and, after the two tied with bogeys on the first two holes, sunk a putt for par to clinch a berth at the 3A state tournament, where she will tee off today at Roy Kizer Golf Course in Austin.
“[Mann] didn’t play nearly as well as she was planning on,” Sanger golf coach Scott Hermes said. “She hit the ball well, but she didn’t score quite what she’s accustomed to. In a way, I guess she’s almost lucky that she was in the position that she was after that first round.”
For most of the season, luck has had very little to do with Mann’s success on the course. A junior with a solid short game and impressive power from the tee, she has the ability to put the ball on or near the green on a mid-range par-4 hole and finish the job with impressive efficiency.
That power has been Mann’s hallmark this year and has helped her develop into the Lady Indians’ top golfer. She started her stint with the team in 2009, when Sanger qualified for the state tournament as a team.
“She drives the ball about as far as most of the boys do on my golf team,” Hermes said. “It’s definitely the strongest part of her game.”
At the regional tournament, though, Mann had to rely more on grit than raw talent. Tossed out into an unexpected sudden-death playoff with her season on the line, she hit a shot into the water on the first hole but managed to salvage a bogey and tie with White. On the second hole, she hit into a bunker but, again, managed to pull out a tie before winning on that third hole.
“That was nerve-wracking,” Mann said. “My putter definitely saved me on that one.”
It saved her and sent her to Austin for the second state tournament of her three year stint as a high school golfer. She went with Sanger’s team in 2009 as a freshman, where she shot a 98 in the first round and a 93 in the second as the Lady Indians finished sixth overall. This year, though, Hermes is expecting much more.
“She’s come a long way since then,” he said. “She’s got a pretty good chance of shooting in the low-to-mid 80s this weekend, I’d say.”
Mann, on the other hand, is thinking bigger.
“I’d love to break 80,” she said. “I think that’d be really cool to do — especially at the state tournament. I just need to shoot the best round I’ve ever had. Hopefully I can do that over the next two days.”
MARSHALL MOORE can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .