Park Hill's Paulak misses state medal by 1 stroke again

Sam Paulak again came agonizingly close to earning a medal at the Class 2 Missouri State Golf Championships, held earlier this week at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield, Mo. The Park Hill junior carded 18-over 162 during rounds on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 12-13 but she missed all-state honors by just one stroke — just as she did in her sophomore season. Paulak’s first-round 84 — 12-over on the par-72 course — put her in a tough position.

Already committed to Division I Drake, Paulak recovered well to shoot the 14th-lowest score on day two, but a double-bogey on No. 18 ended her round at six-over. She carded a 4-over 40 on the front, and the double bogey on her final hole gave her a 2-over 38 on the back.

Paulak finished second at the Class 2 District 8 tournament — missing out on the championship by one stroke — before carding the best round of her life — an even-par 72 — in the Class 2 Sectional 4 tournament to earn her second shot at a state medal.

Last season, Paulak shot a 15-over 87 in the rain-shortened one-round tournament a year ago to finish in a tie for 18th. This year again she finished in a tie for 18th.

Platte County freshman Jessalyn Shipp – one of just seven freshman in the field – finished in a tie for 63rd after a two-day 180. She sat in 44th place after Day 1 with a 16-over 88. A 20-over 92 in the second round slid her down a bit in the standings.

Shipp carded six pars in the opening round but couldn’t equal that success in her second round.

“One thing I think I learned most about myself was how far I could actually hit the ball,” said Shipp, Platte County’s first state qualifier since Mikayla Tessmer in 2013. “In-season, I was not hitting it like I was this (week). This (week) was outstanding in terms of how well I was hitting the ball. I was hitting the ball really far, and I made quite a few pars.”

Park Hill South junior Miranda Steczak finished in a tie for 47th with a two-day 176. She recovered from a 90 in the opening round to shoot 14-over 86 on day two to move up the leaderboard.

Steczak also made her state debut after reaching Class 2 Sectional 4 play a year ago.