Bucks Open Season Today

Jimmie Cunningham, who tied for 15th at state last year, is the top returning state finisher for Yankton, which placed fifth at state in 2018. The Bucks open the 2019 season with the Warrior-Lynx Invitational, beginning today (Monday).

With five of its state tournament golfers and several other golfers back in the fold, the Yankton Bucks look to build on a fifth place state finish from a season ago.

“We have a lot coming back,” said Yankton head coach Brett Sime. “We have a bunch of guys that got some experience last year. We’re hoping to have a pretty good season.”

The Bucks graduated their top finish, Michael Frick (tied for 13th), but return another placewinner in Jimmie Cunningham (tied for 15th). Simon Hacecky (tied for 26th) finished one stroke away from the awards stand. Landon Moe (tied for 37th), Gavin Haselhorst (tied for 40th) and Austin Frick (tied for 57th) all finished in the top half of the field.

Despite that experience, the Bucks are still a young group, noted Cunningham.

“We have five or six juniors this year,” he said. “We have two years left to play together.”

Sime expects a number of golfers to contend for the varsity roster.

“We’ve had some good competition for some spots,” he said. “You could see us going seven, eight, nine deep trying to fight for six spots. When that happens, it’s good for the team. It makes everyone compete at their highest level all the time.”

The Bucks’ biggest addition for the season may not be an individual golfer but, for the first time, an assistant coach. Chris Haynes joins the program as an assistant coach, allowing Yankton to play three junior varsity and middle school events. Traditionally, the only JV experience for Yankton golfers has come in duals and triangulars when the team has been able to play more than six golfers.

“It allows us to play a couple more middle school and junior high events,” Sime said. “It will make the program better. We’re going to see that adding an assistant coach is a good thing, and I thank the school district for doing it.”

Yankton opens the 2019 season with the two-day Warrior-Lynx Invitational. Today’s (Monday) round will be played at Willow Run Golf Course in Sioux Falls, with the second round coming Tuesday at Brandon Golf Course.

“We’ll get a state tournament feel. If you have a bad day the first day, it gets wiped away on the second day,” Sime said. “It does give the feel of a state tournament in the first tournament of the year.”

The downside of the event is when it’s scheduled, Sime said.

“It’s tough for student-athletes because they’ll miss the first two days of school,” he said. “They’ll have to be on the ball when they get back to class on Wednesday.”

The Yankton Invitational — typically the midway point of the season — falls on Sept. 13 at Hillcrest. The Bucks will defend their Eastern South Dakota Conference title two weeks later, Sept. 28 at Lake View Golf Course in Mitchell.

“We’re still hoping to be competitive in the conference,” Sime said.

Besides the Yankton Invitational, the Bucks will have three other home events — all at Fox Run — before hosting the state tournament Oct. 7-8.

“It’s always nice to have it at home,” Sime said. “You don’t have to travel. You don’t have to sleep in a hotel room.”

Follow @JCimburek on Twitter.

2019 Schedule

Aug. 19-20 Warrior/Lynx Inv. 8/9 a.m.

(Aug. 19 at Willow Run GC, Aug. 20 at Brandon GC)

Aug. 22 vs. S.F. Lincoln/

S.F. Washington 1 p.m.

(Fox Run Golf Course)

Aug. 27 vs. Brandon Valley 2 p.m.

(Fox Run Golf Course)

Aug. 30 Huron Inv. 10 a.m.

(Broadland Creek GC)

Sept. 3 at Mitchell 2 p.m.

(Marchand Cup at Lake View GC)

Sept. 5 vs. Lennox 2 p.m.

(Fox Run GC)

Sept. 13 Yankton Inv. 10 a.m.

(Hillcrest Golf & CC)

Sept. 16 Brookings Inv. 10 a.m.

(Brookings CC)

Sept. 20 Mitchell Inv. 10:30 a.m.

(Lake View GC)

Sept. 28 ESD (Huron) 10 a.m.

(Broadland Creek GC)

Oct. 1 at Harrisburg 9 a.m.

(Spring Creek CC)

Oct. 7-8 State AA Tourn. 9 a.m.

(Hillcrest Golf & CC)

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