KANSAS CITY — Jay Threadgill couldn’t have had a rougher start to a high-pressure situation than the one he encountered on Monday, May 6.
Playing in the Class 4 Sectional 4 meet, the Park Hill South senior opened up on No. 16 at Tiffany Greens Golf Course.
On the par-5 hole, it took him nine shots to get the ball in the hole making him 4-over from the start.
He rallied from there ended up by shooting a 3-over 72 to tie for fourth place in the field, punching a ticket back to state.
“I feel more confident going into state,” said Threadgill, who took 71st place at state last year. “Last year was more of an experience run. I know what I’m looking at competition wise and I’m feeling pretty confident.”
Threadgill had birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 to help get his score lower and through holes 1-9, while being 3-over on the back nine. The shotgun start broke those up in a different sequence than most tournaments. With four holes left go, Threadgill birdied No. 13 as well.
“I was nervous early,” he said. “It is my senior year and I thought it was my last round of golf. I calmed down and shot the hole that was in front of me.”
He rallied after the bad start to earn the trip to Bolivar, where he will be joined by Park Hill’s Ryan Graves, now a three-time state qualifier.
Graves shot a 6-over 78 and tied for ninth place – eight shots off the pace of champion Liam Coughlin of Rockhurst.
The future Baker golfer struggled with a double bogey on No. 5, but then got back on track over the next four holes. His play improved at the same time his future college coach was walking the course to watch him.
“I’m super excited for another chance to compete agains the top golfers in the state,” said Graves, who was 62nd at the Class 4 finals last year.
Said Park Hill coach Zach Dorrell, “He did a good job of sticking it together. I’m not sure he could’ve done that last year. That is the difference. He is able to calm himself down after a bad hole.”
Park Hill had a close call as Grant Schumacher shot 85 to finish one shot out of the final state qualifying spot. Last year, he was two shots away from going to state.
The Trojans finished ninth in the team standings with a 349. Park Hill South shot 344 to take eighth, though they didn’t advance as a top-two team at districts.
Rockhurst (291) and Blue Springs South (321) took the two automatic berths to the state finals that will be held May 13-14 at Silo Ridge Golf Course.
“We shot 328 in our tournament (here) at the beginning of the year and that was as good as we have played all year and that would still have put us even shots out,” Dorrell said of the team race. “We would’ve had to have had a career day to move on. This isn’t as good as we have done at most of the tournaments but this is a different stage and different nerves.”