SMITHVILLE, Mo. — Any lingering nerves for Logan Hessemyer quickly went away.
Platte County’s freshman standout stood at 2-under after 13 holes in the Class 3 District 8 tournament Tuesday, May 2 on the Posse Course at Paradise Point Golf Complex. He ended up with a 6-over 78, leading the Pirates to a team berth in next week’s Sectional 4.
Starting on No. 10, Hessemyer made birdie on Nos. 16 and 18 while recording 11 pars before a tough finish. He still came in two shots clear for medalist honors, becoming a district champion in his first postseason tournament.
“I just couldn’t miss,” Hessemyer said. “It was disappointing after shooting 2-under on the first nine I played, but I’ll take it. It wasn’t that bad. The first hole out, I was nervous, but once you get out there and start playing, you loosen up.
“It feels really good — really good.”
Platte County shot a disappointing 355 team total, but senior Payton Boekhout joined Hessemyer on the all-district list, tying for third with an 81. Bradley Poos, a sophomore, shot a 95 for the Pirates, while senior Tanner Burkin rounded out the team score with a 101.
Austin Acord, Platte County’s No. 5, shot a 102.
As the final scores trickled in, Platte County wound up 10 strokes behind district champion St. Pius X but four in front of Kearney for the second of two automatic berths to Sectional 4, scheduled for Monday, May 8 in Excelsior Springs, Mo. This marked the Pirates’ second ever top-two finish at districts and first under the current expanded postseason format.
Platte County’s 2001 team finished second in districts and placed fourth in the Class 3A Missouri State Golf Championships. The 2014 team qualified four individuals for Sectional 4 play and competed as a team, but no team under current coach Trevor Short had sent all five golfers to the next round.
The top two teams next week at Excelsior Springs Golf Course advance to the Missouri State Golf Championships.
“It’ll be nice to have all five of us,” Boekhout said. “We’ve all shot low at certain points this season. If we can all bring it together, we could go really low and hopefully be one of the two teams to move on to state.”
The continued steady play of Hessemyer and Boekhout carried Platte County into the next round.
While Hessemyer posted a 34 on the front side, he struggled on the holes situated around Smithville Lake. Boekhout — the only player in the lineup with previous postseason experience — made eight pars total and recorded birdies during his second nine holes at No. 2 and No. 8.
Boekhout stuck his approach tight at No. 2 and chipped in from off the green on the par-3 eighth.
“The first couple of holes I was nervous because I wasn’t playing too well,” Boekhout said. “I just calmed down, focused and finished pretty well.”
Platte County’s lineup decisions came down to the final weeks of the regular season.
Behind the top two of Boekhout and Hessemyer, the next four players were all separated by about one stroke on round average. Burkin and Acord ended up with two spots partially due to seniority, while Poos’ play — both overall and previously on the Posse Course — gave him the final spot over junior Jack Laderoute, who finished tied at 22nd overall with Boekhout in district play last season.
“It was a difficult decision for what we were going to do,” Short said. “Jack struggled a little bit there at the end, and Bradley played well. I brought those two together, and we decided we would go with numbers.
“Excited for second. We had the opportunity to play better, but we’ll go with it — survive and move on as a team.”
Platte County’s balanced lineup coupled with the emergence of Boekhout and Hessemyer put them in position to compete for a postseason title.
With a reshuffled district lineup, the Pirates were solidly in the top four but didn’t expect a 355 team total to be good enough. They posted a season-best 322 just over a week earlier to win their second straight Suburban Conference Blue Division title with Boekhout the medalist at home at Shiloh Springs Golf Course.
An off day at districts turned out to be enough, and Platte County now hopes to show the potential next week and earn the second team berth in program history.
“It was just an off day. We’ll get it,” Hessemyer said.
Hessemyer led the Platte County on an off day for the bottom part of the lineup. The Pirates placed second with a 342 but had three scores in the 90s at Hodge Park in Kansas City, Mo.
On the leaderboard, Hessemyer came in just one stroke away from medalist honors with a 7-over 78. Boekhout tied for third two strokes back with an 80, while Burkin and Acord rounded out Platte County’s team score with matching 92s — tied for 13th.
Smithville took the team title with a 337.
Platte County 167, Smithville 197
The Pirates were dominant in their final dual of the season played at the district site six days ahead of the postseason.
Hessemyer bounced back from a tough round two days earlier in the Suburban Conference Red Division championships to win medalist honors on The Posse Course at Paradise Pointe Golf Complex in Smithville, Mo. Boekhout was second with a 41 and Poos third with a 43.
Acord shot a 45 to round out the team score.