When golf coach Dutch Vandenborn gets ready for the annual Henryetta Cup tournament, memories of one of the finest HHS golfers.
jeff profileJeff Lawrence is a two-time state high school golf champion and, ”the best golfer I ever coached,” Vandenborn says with pride.
The son of Louis and Pam Lawrence captured back to back gold at state in 1993 and 1994. He narrowly lost a third honor after going into a tie at the end of the regulation play.
“He could do things I haven’t seen others do,” Vandenborn said. “He had natural talent.” Even though he was left-handed, Lawrence played with his right.
“He was a perfectionist. If we get the ball on the green we are happy. If it wasn’t a foot from the hole, he was upset. He would try to imitate the professional golfers with his swing.” Fred Couples, who won the 1992 PGA Masters, was his favorite.
Through his father, Lawrence participated in the Optimist Club national tournament one year and ws paired against up and comer Tiger Woods. “I was told he beat him,” Vandenborn said, “but I can’t certify it.”
Even though he was devoted to the game of golf, Lawrence was not above pulling some pranks.
Vandenborn said there was a time when he and several other high school teammates were playing on the Henryetta course and had some fun with a trailing group of golfers.
“They were on the old Number 6 hole, a par-3. When they got through putting, they took the cup out of the hole and moved it and the flag into the sand trap.”
Lawrence received a scholarship to Northeastern State University after high school.jeff sand
That career was cut short when he and Johnny Moore had left the golf course and were driving north on US 75. The car they were in went off the road and crashed, killing both of them.
“We established the Henryetta Cup as a way to give back to the community in his name,” Vandenborn said.jeff early“Each year we get players who were either on the same team with Jeff or who played against him to participate in the tournament.”
One of those who always returns is J.W. Vandenborn, the head golf coach at the University of Missouri in Kansas City.
“j.W. got interested in the game when he tagged along with Jeff,” Vandenborn said.
The Jeff Lawrence legacy carried on in this century when his sister, Morgan Brown, captured the state title.
Her bag included a leprechaun head cover that belonged to her brother. The car wreck destroyed Jeff’s clubs but the head cover was undamaged.
Vandenborn said he wants to honor Lawrence as well as the other top high school golfers from Henryetta with a board at the club house marking the years they won state and regional titles.
“We have produced some great golfers, especially Jeff,” he said.

   
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