Local schools qualify a pair each for sectional golf play

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Miranda Steczak openly displayed her excitement to once again earn a district medal. BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo Park Hill sophomore Kelbey Emerson, left, and Park Hill South junior Miranda Steczak look over putts on the par-3 No. 17 during the Class 2 District 8 Tournament held Monday, Sept. 28 at Shoal Creek Golf Course in Kansas City, Mo.

How excited? The Park Hill South junior did the famous ‘Whip’ dance from her spot with teammates to the center of the patio at Shoal Creek Golf Course following the Class 2 District 8 tournament’s awards ceremony. Now, She turns her attention to making the Missouri State Golf Championships cut for the first time.

Steczak shot a 13-over 84 on Monday, Sept. 28, good enough for a spot in the top 10 and a place in next week’s Class 2 Sectional 4 tournament.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Steczak said. “I’ve had two back-to-back 84s, so I should be pretty safe for state. I’m excited for it. I just have to keep working hard to get it there. I need to work on my driver so I can avoid going (out of bounds). Other than that, my putting was solid, and I just have to keep that sharp and keep it going from there.”

Steczak and teammate Grace Dunker each earned medals and will compete in Sectional 4 to be held Monday, Oct. 5 at Adams Pointe Golf Course in Blue Springs, Mo.

Park Hill South, Park Hill and Platte County will all have a pair playing in that round seeking a spot in the Class 2 state field at River Cut Golf Course in Springfield, Mo. Platte County freshmen Jessalyn and Kasydie Shipp each earned medals in the first district action, while Park Hill’s Sam Paulak just missed medalist honors, while Lexi Grego grabbed one of the final slots.

Kasydie earned 11th place with a 16-over 87 while Jessalyn tied for 12th with an 18-over 89. The top 15 golfers not from the two automatic qualifying teams reach sectionals, and both were easily in the field.

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo Platte County freshman Jessalyn Shipp watches her tee shot on the par-3 No. 17 during the Class 2 District 8 tournament on Monday, Sept. 28 at Shoal Creek Golf Course in Kansas City, Mo.

The Shipps look to become the first Platte County golfers to reach state since Mikayla Tessmer in 2013. Both played solid back halves of their round, and Kasydie Shipp carded back-to-back birdies to start her final nine holes and jumpstart her sectional qualifying effort.

“I have not (done that before),” Kasydie Shipp said. “Actually two birdies is the most I’ve ever had in a round. It felt pretty good. The rest of my season hasn’t been as good and finally bringing it makes me feel pretty good.”

Platte County carded its low round as a team with a — 386 — to finish in eighth place out of 10 qualifying team scores. The Pirates were just 12 strokes behind third-place Kearney but well behind team champion Liberty (320) and runners-up Liberty North (345) who grabbed the two automatic team berths into the sectional round.

Park Hill South finished sixth — one stroke behind rival-Park Hill’s fifth-place 378 team score.

Paulak made the sectional round for the third straight year but ended up second after a costly double bogey on the final hole. She finished at 4-over 75, just one shot out of a tie with district champion Brianna Walker of Liberty.

“Last year, when she missed all-state by one stroke, she said ‘I’m going to be top five,’” Park Hill coach Tari Garner said. “I think she can do it. She’s been pretty steady. She did say at the beginning today she had a couple of tough holes. The difference in last year and this year is she is able to turn it around and make it something great. She’s a player, she’s the real deal.”

Grego finished with a 93 — one stroke behind Staley’s Julia Hagen for the final district medal but good enough to extend her season to next week.

Platte County senior Kortney Rogers carded a 101 to finish two strokes off of the sectional cut line of 99. She ended up tied for 25th and did not reach the second round of the postseason after qualifying as a freshman and sophomore.

Rogers did not play last year while attending classes at Plattsburg (Mo.) High School.