Madill struggles, Hennessy surprises to advance to sectionals for Platte County golf

Matt Madill can now hope his down round came in the right part of the postseason.

Seeking a second career trip the Missouri State Golf Championships, the Platte County senior struggled to a 13-over 84 on Monday, May 2 at Shiloh Springs Golf Course in the Class 3 District 8 tournament. He ended up in a three-way tie for 13th but comfortably inside the cut to keep his season alive.

Madill advances to next week’s Class 3 Sectional 4 tournament at Cardinal Hill Golf Course to try and avoid last year’s fate, which included missing the state cut by one stroke.

“If I just get through, I feel I can post something low and go back to state,” said Madill, who tied for 85th at state in Class 3 as a sophomore.

Madill’s early struggles were part of a rough day for Platte County, which entered play on its home course with an outside shot to take one of two automatic team berths for sectionals.

Instead, the Pirates ended up with a team total 359 and were 30 shots back of second-place Smithville. Pembroke Hill took the title with a 307, and the Raiders were the runaway favorites to win the championship.

Platte County settles for a pair of sectional qualifiers in Madill and Gary Hennessy, who shot an 89 from the Pirates’ No. 4 spot. 

With just two returners with varsity experience, Platte County built momentum during the season and appeared to be peaking late in the year after winning last week’s Suburban Conference Blue Division Championships in convincing fashion. Instead, Payton Boekhout, a varsity returner, and sophomore Jack Laderoute shot matching 93s and missed the cut by three strokes, and Jagger Zoellner, a first-year varsity senior, closed his career with a 112.

“I knew we’d all have to shoot well, and I knew I’d have to post something low. That didn’t happen obviously,” Madill said. “I love this group. Everybody was kind of doubting us at the beginning. I guess this was supposed to be a rebuilding year, and we went undefeated and won conference.”

Madill’s round started rough with a double bogey and two bogeys before he parred the par-5 fourth after missing a short birdie putt. The round appeared headed for a turnaround after a birdie at No. 5, but a double bogey-bogey-double bogey close to the front nine put him at 8-over at the turn.

On the back side, Madill made four pars but didn’t have any more birdies.

“The front got the best of me, for sure,” Madill said. “My putting was really struggling today. My drives were off, and I had some bad breaks.”

Hennessy advanced to sectionals for the first time. The top 10 individuals, including ties, not from the two qualifying teams will also advance to state.