Sam Paulak played more consistently than anyone at the top of the leaderboard. The reward for Park Hill’s star senior ended up being her first all-state honors in three trips to the Class 2 Missouri State Golf Championships.
Finishing up her second round Tuesday, Oct. 11, Paulak finished alone in third place at 9-over par on the par-71 Columbia Country Club course in Colubmia, Mo. She shot 75-76 and came in just two strokes back of co-winners Julia Bower of Rock Bridge and Claire Solovic of Seckman.
Paulak missed all-state — given to the top 15 players plus ties — by exactly one stroke in each of her two previous trips.
“I honestly thought I shot in the 80s today, but I shot 76,” Paulak said. “It’s a little bitter because I was going for the win and I wasn’t far off but at the same time I’m glad to stick it through even though I had some zany shots.”
Paulak entered the final round in a tie for second place behind Bower, who shot 71-78 to finish 7-over. Bower passed up Park Hill’s lone qualifier by posting a 73 on Day 2 after her first-round 76.
In the opening round, Paulak opened with three straight bogeys but ended up with three birdies and a load of “scrappy pars” to finish 3-over. She wasn’t as happy with her second round, making just one birdie but surprising herself with the end result.
Paulak, verbally committed to play golf at Drake, became Park Hill’s second all-state golfer and first since Anna Kloeppel in 2011.
In 2014, Paulak went to state with older sister Sydney Paulak and shot an 87 in a tournament shortened to one round. Sam Paulak tied for 18th.
Last year, she also tied for 18th, shooting a 78 in the second round after an opening 84 to get into medal contention.
While Paulak stayed steady, Park Hill South senior Miranda Steczak’s second state trip ended with a 29th-place showing. She shot a first round 79 to put herself in a tie for 10th and solidly in all-state position but she fell back after a disappointing 92 on Day 2 to end up in a tie with five other players, seven shots out of an all-state spot.
Steczak tied for 47th a year ago.
Park Hill South teammate Sadie Franklin made her state debut and recovered from a disastrous first round to make a move up the leaderboard. After shooting a 103 on Day 1, she came back with a solid 89 to move up to 71st.
Platte County sophomore Kasydie Shipp also made her state debut and tied for 79th. She shot 102-98, including a first round chip-in for par from 30 yards out on a tough day.
Kasydie Shipp and sophomore sister Jessalyn Shipp led Platte County to the Suburban Conference Blue Division title this year — the first league championship in program history. Both qualified for Class 2 Sectional 4 play, but in a reversal from last year’s results, Kasydie Shipp advanced while Jessalyn missed the state cut.
In 2015, Jessalyn Shipp placed in a tie for 63rd as a freshman in her state debut.