Jordan Chael entered her final high school golf season with one goal in mind really — well, one hanging over her head anyway.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Chael, a St. Thomas Aquinas senior, had long ago established herself as one of the top high school players locally, if not in the entire Midwest.
What Chael, who signed with Nebraska, hadn’t done was etch state champion next to her name.
She finished third behind Saints teammates Ali Kruse and Isabella Baldacci as a sophomore and wound up third again behind another teammate, Baile Winslow, as a junior after shooting a disappointing 84 in the state tournament.
For Chael, who won three Kansas 5A team titles with Aquinas, winning the gold at state had become her white whale — and she had one final crack at it.
“No matter how good your season is overall, you just feel like that’s the big one at the end,” Saints coach Ryan Best said. “The one that gets the most press and culminates a season and career is state.”
Chael finally made good on Oct. 15 at Emporia Municipal Golf Course, winning the Kansas 5A state championship with a 2-over par 74. She edged Winslow by 4 shots for the title.
“It means a ton, because it was kind of a demon she had to get over, particularly because she didn’t play well her junior year (at state),” Best said. “She had a great year, but just didn’t play well. Those other years, you know you’ve got another chance, but that put a lot of pressure on state as a senior.”
Chael, who played her freshman season at Olathe East, won 15 tournaments in her Aquinas career, including seven this season.
Among her more impressive accomplishments as a senior, Chael shot 69 at Shawnee Country Club and won the Washburn Rural Invitational.
By any measure, Chael put together a terrific finish to her season — one worthy of being The Star’s All-Metro girls golfer of the year.