Sam Paulak recovered from a lackluster effort in her first postseason round to comfortably qualify for the Class 2 Missouri State Golf Championships for a third straight season.
Expected to compete for all-state honors, the Park Hill senior again finished off the pace of the winner in the Class 2 Sectional 4 tournament, but her 12-over 84 on Monday, Oct. 3 on the Posse Course of Paradise Point Golf Complex in Smithville, Mo., placed her seventh and well under the individual qualifier cut of 93.
Madyson Acers of Blue Springs and Anna Zech of Kearney shared medalist honors with 79s.
Paulak led four players at sectionals for Park Hill, allowing the Trojans to compete for an automatic team berth. She ended up being the only state qualifier. The Trojans shot a 386 total and ended up sixth out of an unusually high nine teams in the final standings.
Park Hill South again bested the Trojans, shooting a 378 with five individual qualifiers to place fifth — 18 shots out of one of the two automatic state berths.
The Panthers have two headed to state this year with Miranda Steczak (ninth, 86) and Sadie Franklin (tie for 17th, 93) making the cut. Coming off a District 8 championship, Steczak finished well ahead of the line, while Franklin tied for one of the last three spots for individuals.
The top two teams plus the top 12 players not from those teams — including ties — also go to state. Franklin was in a three way tie for 11th among players not from Sectional 4 champion Liberty and runner-up Blue Springs.
Platte County again came up agonizingly close of having two players in the top 12.
In a reversal of last year’s results, Pirates sophomore Kasydie Shipp became a first time state qualifier with an 89 — good for 13th — while sophomore sister Jessalyn Shipp shot a 94 and was the first player off the cut line. Jessalyn Shipp qualified as a freshman with Kasydie Shipp off the cut.
The top two players for Platte County were instrumental in helping the Pirates collect the Suburban Conference Blue Division title this season — the first league championship in program history. They were both close to the district cut line last week but were hopeful of qualifying for state together for the first time.
Last year, Jessalyn Shipp tied for 63rd out of 91 golfers at state.
Paulak tied for 18th with a second-round 78 moving her back up the leaderboard, but she ended up tied for 18th and exactly one shot off of a tie for 15th and her first all-state honors. She was one shot off of all-state honors her sophomore year, as well.
Steczak tied for 47th in her first state tournament as a junior, while Franklin will be a first-time qualifier.