Northland Golf Recap

Kearney senior Payne Gallagher tees off on the eighth hole of the Shiloh Springs Golf course in the Greater Kansas City Suburban Conference Blue Division championship April 22. He ended up claiming a tie for 18th place at the Class 3 state tournament.

As spring sports come to a close with the end of school, coaches from local districts recapped successes from their golf seasons.

Liberty North

Liberty North senior Tanner Collins ended his senior year with his fourth consecutive trip to state and his best finish at the final tournament of the year.

Collins finished in a four-way tie for third place at the Class 4 state tournament, turning in a two-day score of 149 with a 72 on the first day followed by a 77.

Collins took 17th as a junior, 15th as a sophomore and 72nd as a freshman.

Collins also won the individual Class 4 District 8 title, the Suburban Red individual crown, the Liberty Invitational title and finished fourth in sectionals.

Joining the senior at state was Daniel Duffin, who carded a 160 to take 39th, his highest finish in his three years of making state.

Liberty North as a team took third at districts and fourth in sectionals.


Liberty captured the Suburban Red conference title and the Class 4 District 8 title and sent two players to the state tournament in the 2019 season. The Blue Jays were eying a fourth-straight appearance as a team at the state level but finished sixth as a team at sectionals.

“In one sense, we were disappointed that we didn’t accomplish all of our goals. Of course, if you win a conference championship and a district championship you haven’t been unsuccessful,” Liberty coach Forrest Bertoldie said. “It’s just that when you have such lofty standards, we like to strive to achieve and that wasn’t the case this year.”

Juniors Michael Garcia and Cooper Stiles both advanced individually to the final tournament of the season.

Stiles finished in 73rd at the Class 4 state championship with a score of 169 while Garcia carded a 174 over the two-day tournament to finish in 83rd.

“They benefit from the experience, win or lose,” Bertoldie said. “They get a sense of they are able to compete at the highest level and that clearly offers some advantages next year. ...They get a chance to see the finest players from across the state to see how they approach the game.”

Liberty returns all of its varsity members — a group that won the Bertoldie Cup for the third straight season — for 2020.

“We had some young kids who really advanced greatly during the season and made tremendous progress,” Bertoldie said.


Smithville’s Andrew Conrad capped off his opening campaign with the Warriors with a ninth-place finish in Class 3, leading Smithville to a eighth-place finish at state.

The all-state finish added to the freshman’s second-place finish in districts and in conference and third-place finish at sectionals.

The Warriors advanced four golfers to state.

Senior Trace Walter ended his high school career in a tie for 18th place at state with a two-day score of 158. Junior Nicholas Nielson took 49th and sophomore Eric Holmes claimed 74th.

As a team, Smithville captured the Suburban Blue team title in its first year in the league, combining for a team score of 329. The Warriors also captured the Class 3 District 8 team title.


Kearney senior golfer Payne Gallagher finished his high school career on a high note, claiming a tie for 18th place at the Class 3 state tournament.

Gallagher was the Bulldogs’ lone state qualifier and finished with a two-day score of 158, carding a 79 on each day. This was his first all-state finish after taking 87th as a sophomore.

The senior racked up top-10 finishes in his final campaign, winning the Suburban Red individual title, placing seventh at districts and being part of a four-way tie for third at sectionals.

The Bulldogs took fifth as a team in districts and fourth in the Suburban Red conference tournament.

Randy Speer can be reached by emailing, by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @RandySpeer_DSJ.

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