PREVIEW: Veteran Kennett golf squad eyes third straight district title

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Pictured is the 2020 Kennett High School golf team.

The Kennett Indians golf program enters the 2020 season hoping for continued success with a slew of returning standouts.

The Indians return its Top 5 golfers off of last season’s squad that won its second straight district title and placed sixth at the Class 2 state tournament.

“We are excited about this year,” Kennett senior starter Jonathan Jain said. “Returning all five starters is a big plus for us. We have a lot of goals. We want to win our third district championship, which would be an amazing accomplishment. We’d also like to qualify for state again and compete well at the state tournament. But overall we are just looking forward to going out and competing and seeing what we can achieve.”

The fiver golfers who were part of last season’s varsity squad are Jain, senior Hayden Faulkner, senior Jack McHaney, junior Will Johnson, and junior Joe Wilson. The five returns are joined by freshmen Ryan Creed, Nate Mode, and Jack Todd.

“I’m anxious to see how much better everyone has gotten in the offseason,” Kennett coach Jim Vaughan said. We may not know until midseason what our true rank order is on varsity. That’s a good problem to have because I think we will be a competitive group amongst each other, which should make us a little bit better because we should be able to have more competitive practices.”

McHaney, who placed first at the district and tied for second at the sectional with teammate Faulkner, was the No. 1 golfer on last season’s Kennett squad.

“I think our team is definitely stronger this season,” McHaney said. “I think if we all perform at a high level we could have some really good outcomes this season. We worked hard in the offseason and I think we are ready to tee off.”

All four of Kennett’s other varsity starters finished in the Top 5 in Class 2, District 1 last season.

“Past knowledge is huge in golf and I think what we experienced last year should definitely help us this season,” Jain said.

Faulkner said the squad worked on its game frequently together during the summer months.

“We picked times when we would all come out here to the course together,” Faulkner said. “We played all day together and competed in a few tournaments throughout the summer.”

It has yet to be announced if Kennett will compete in Class 2, District 1 or Class 3, District 1 in golf. Kennett has proven it can compete in both divisions, winning a Class 3 district title in 2018 before securing a Class 2 district title last season.

Vaughan said he has made changes to the golf schedule to help better prepare the golf team to contend in the playoffs.

“We tried to alter the schedule this year so we could go play at some courses we’ve never competed at before,” Vaughan said. “We wanted to vary up the venues to get our golfers different looks. I think that should help better prepare us for postseason play because we will probably be on a course we have never seen before at some point.”

Kennett Golf Schedule

3/24Dexter, Sikeston, C’ville.Kennett CC/3:30 p.m.
3/26Cape, Saxony, NDCape CC/3 p.m.
3/30Notre Dame InvitationalDalhousie CC/TBA
4/3Jackson (Match Play)Kimberland/3 p.m.
4/8Farmington InvitationalCrown Pointe/TBA
4/13Poplar Bluff InvitationalWestwood HIls/TBA
4/14ND, Dexter, Cape Cen.Dalhousie/3:30 p.m.
4/20Jackson TournamentKimberland/TBA
4/22Saxony, Cape, MaldenKennett CC/3:30 p.m.
4/27SEMO Conf. Tourn.Foxhaven/TBA
4/28Poplar Bluff, DexterHidden Trails/3:30
5/4District Tournament.TBA/TBA
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