Payton Ginter took it all last week, placing first in the girls’ 4A state golf tournament in Emporia.
It wasn’t her home course, which she had enjoyed at Regionals on a gorgeous day, but it was good. She had learned from her dad, Coach James Ginter, to treat it just like any other tournament. Like she was playing at home.
"At Emporia, I didn’t know the course as well as the people who had it as a home course," Ginter said. "I’ve played that course before. It’s a cool course, similar to Wellington’s."
Ginter, a senior, and Kasiah Richmond, a sophomore, had qualified for state after placing third and sixth, respectively, at regionals.
On the golf course, Richmond likes to pretend she’s playing with her dad. Both young ladies were introduced to golf by their dads when they were little.
"I just grew up on the golf course," Ginter said, of going to the course with her dad, Coach James Ginter.
But while she’s always been amazed by the game and had a strong desire to win state since she was a little kid, Ginter said she didn’t start taking the game seriously until she was in middle school.
"That’s where it really started, the spark," she said.
Richmond credited Coach Ginter with helping her get her spark back in a tough year.
"He pushes us to do our best," Richmond said. "He has helped me so much, especially this season. This year has been tough for me and my family and I kind of lost my passion for golf and he helped me get that back."
Ginter has verbally committed to play golf for Dodge City Community College next year. Richmond will be returning to the Wellington golf team, along with four other to-be juniors and three to-be sophomores. The group coming up from the middle school looks to be big, Coach Ginter said.
He’s hoping the girls transitioning from middle school will "continue what Payton and Kasiah and the other girls have helped to build."