Steers able to recover from early setback

By John Eisel

The Farwell boys golf team’s hopes for the 2005 season appeared crippled before the season began. The Steers’ projected No. 2 golfer, Ty Gast, broke his collarbone skiing and would sit out the season.

“Things were looking kind of bleak,” Farwell coach Tim Kasel said. “I knew Tate (Nichols) was going to have his success, but I didn’t know about the rest of the team.”

The rest of the team has come through fine. The Steers won the four events they’ve had a full team, including the district meet April 4 in Lubbock.

The Steers will be joined at the regional tournament today and tomorrow by the Lady Blue, which brought back a veteran tournament and repeated as district champion.

The girls will play at the Levelland Country Club, while the boys are a few miles away at Sundown Municipal Golf Course.

Kasel believes the boys can make it to state, if Nichols, sophomore Derrick Chandler and freshman Ross McClaran can play their best. The top two teams and top eight individuals outside those teams move on to state.

The Steers finished second at state in 2002.

After missing state last year by a few strokes, Nichols has won every tournament this season, including last week’s Leroy Gooch tournament in Ruidoso in a three-hole playoff. The senior has talked to coaches about golfing collegiately.

“I’m sure Tate’s going to state. He’s out here 24-7,” Farwell sophomore Derrick Chandler said. “By my senior year hopefully I’ll be as good as he is.”

Chandler has been Farwell’s No. 2 golfer. He’s cut his scores from the low to mid 80s to the high 70s, which Kasel credits to being a year stronger, smarter and more mature.

“Derek has played beyond what I expected,” Kasel said.

Kasel refuses to take credit for the Steer’s success.

“I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I’m making this a top-notch golf program,” said Kasel, who’s in his second year. “I drive the van and take care of the details.”

Players and coaches admit it will take an extraordinary effort or the Lady Blue to qualify for state. Girls teams in Memphis and Shamrock golf year-round, while the Lady Blue had two days of practice this season before its first tournament because of basketball.

“Just to be at regionals is a good accomplishment for us,” said senior Micah Christian, who will be joined by sophomores Britton Barrett and Delani Jones and junior Kristen Garcia at regionals.