Maumelle sophomore Caleb Kubacak knows what it is like to lose a playoff for medalist’s honors. Last Wednesday in the 4A state golf tournament, he wasn’t going to let that happen again.
With three guys tying for the top golfer with a 74, a playoff followed. After one of the golfers bogeyed the first hole, the competition was down to two guys. Maumelle Coach Michael Shook said Kubacak won pretty convincingly on the next hole. In the 4A-4 conference tournament, Kubacak and fellow teammate Austin Freeman tied for medalist honors. The number one golfer for Maumelle all season, Kubacak lost that playoff. Shook thinks that setback refocused Kubacak.
“I told him there was nothing I needed to say because you know how to win playoffs,” Shook said. “After the first hole and the first kid was eliminated, he had a big smile on his face. I realized he was going to take care of business. Tying for medalist and losing (at conference) was definitely good for us. It refocused Caleb, and he realized you couldn’t just show up and play.”
While Kubacak capturing the individual honors was a high point, the Hornets also experienced lows. Three strokes separated the top three teams with Arkansas Baptist winning the team title with a score of 238. Valley View was second with a score of 240, and Maumelle finished third with a 241 score.
Ryan Spurlock finished with a score of 80, while his average is 74. Because he was the medalist at the conference tournament, Freeman was the number one seed although he is the Hornets’ third guy. He shot an 87 while his average is 80. Hunter Matthews averages 86 and finished with an 87.
“It was not a collapse, just a few things here and there,” Shook said. “Hunter was actually playing well, but with three holes to go, hit into the water twice and out of bounds. He had a good round with one bad hole. We just couldn’t get into a groove.”
Maumelle also finished third last year, and Shook had hopes of capturing the title this season. At one point, he thought they would be runner-up. While the coaches can’t see what is happening during the competition, they can get a feel by visiting with other coaches. Arkansas Baptist slipped into the top spot.
“It was suspenseful with lots of lows and highs,” Shook said. “As a coach when you expect to win, it is a hard pill to swallow.”
Kubacak competes in the Overall golf tournament Thursday at Pleasant Valley. Both he and Spurlock were named all-state golfers.