Talley finding home on the course, gives Platte County a boost

Pirates place 6th in Park Hill Tournament, continuing to finalize lineup as home scramble tournament approaches.
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A new name popped up on the leaderboard for Platte County during the Park Hill Invitational on Thursday.

Platte County sophomore Parker Amos hits a shot out of the bunker Thursday in the Park Hill Invitational at Tiffany Greens in Kansas City.

Lakin Talley, a senior baseball player turned golfer this season, shot an 88 on Thursday at Tiffany Greens Golf Course in Kansas City. He played the course for just the second time and mixed in bogeys and pars to account for the round’s score, shooting a 41 on the front and a 47 on the back.

Platte County sophomore Parker Amos finished fourth with senior Evan Handke in 15th, but Talley was the No. 3 finisher for the Pirates, tying for 28th and providing a boost with two other seniors having off days.

Playing on the course for only the second time in his life, the senior mixed in bogeys and pars to account for his scores — shooting 41 on the front and 47 on the back.

“I had a lot of birdie opportunities but couldn’t knock down the putts, but I cleaned it up with pars,” Talley said. “It went pretty good today.”

Platte County posted a team score of 335 and placed sixth overall in the 15-team field, coming in just three shots back of  third-place Blue Springs in the bunched final team standings.

Platte County senior Evan Handke watches a shot from the fairway during the Park Hill Invitational on Thursday at Tiffany Greens.

Staley claimed the team championships with a 307, while Liberty (327), Blue Springs (332), St. Joseph Central (333) and Park Hill (334) right behind in a tournament delayed 1½ hours due to temperatures hovering around freezing. Smithville’s Andrew Conrad shot a 70 to earn medalist honors.

Amos shot continued the strong start to his sophomore season — and first of his high school career due to last year’s cancelation — with a 2-over 74. He has topped Platte County’s finisher in each tournament this season and added a top-five showing to his medalist honors from the season-opening Winnetonka Invitational.

Handke posted birdies on Nos. 1, 8, 11 and 13 to shoot a 78.

“I played pretty well,” Handke said. “I could’ve played a little bit better, but overall I’m pretty happy with my performance. I had four birdies on the round, and I was pleased with that but I just need to go lower on a couple other holes. I didn’t putt that well.”

Then came Talley, who spent his first two years at Platte County High School playing on the baseball team’s JV roster. When the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020 spring sports season, he ended up spending a lot of free time playing golf with his father and eventually decided to try out for coach Trevor Short’s squad this year instead of going out for baseball.

Platte County senior Grant Gomel hits a shot from the fairway on Thursday during the Park Hill Invitational at Tiffany Greens.

“Lakin Talley is starting to prove himself as a contender,” Short said. “He is moving up the ladder and passing other guys. He is starting to come on and is playing really well. During the COVID (shutdown), he got to play a lot and enjoyed it and wanted to come out. He has been a big help to us.”

A few years ago, Platte County’s Blake Minyard made the switch from baseball to golf and is now playing at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas. This marked Talley’s only third time in varsity competition, moving up from the No. 7 spot into the top five.

“I’m thankful I get the chance to get called up here, and I have enjoyed playing the past two tournaments and I played good, too,” Talley said. “This is about where, goal-wise, I wanted to be. I want to keep moving and getting better.”

Platte County seniors Grant Gomel (92) and Connor Dean (112) rounded out the five golfers for the Pirates, who host their Platte County Invitational scramble event on Monday at Shiloh Springs Golf Course.

Platte County 178, Grain Valley 180, Kearney 188

Gomel earned medalist honors to lead the Pirates to a victory in their first non-tournament of the season Wednesday at Adams Pointe Golf Club in Blue Springs. He carded a 41 on the nine-hole par 36 setup.

Amos (44) and Talley (45) were next on the scoresheet for Platte County, while Dean (48) rounded out the team score. The teams played in gusting winds on a chilly afternoon.

“The team held it together the best they could and added a notch in the win column,” Short said. “We were also excited to challenge ourselves on a course that we had not competed on in quite a while. We struggled a bit here and there, but put enough good shots together to post some good scores.”

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