Kearney High School senior Chandler Gallagher knew next to nothing about golf when she drove to the course one afternoon four years ago. She had to borrow a partial set of clubs to play her first round.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
It’s been a long journey, to say the least.
Gallagher capped her distinguished high school career Tuesday with a fourth-place finish at the Missouri Class 2 state championship in New Bloomfield, Mo., the top showing for any Kansas City area golfer.
“I am so competitive sometimes that I don’t step back and look back at everything, but it’s been an amazing four years,” Gallagher said in a phone interview Tuesday. “It’s been a blessing. I was blessed with a natural talent, and a lot of hard work paid off.”
And now it’s on to brighter days. Gallagher will compete for Kansas State in college.
She nearly won her final high school tournament, a two-day event at Meadow Lakes Country Club, but Glendale golfer Sun Young Jung pulled away late, recording a two-round score of 150.
Gallagher, who finished 4 shots back with matching rounds of 77, drew even with Jung with five holes to play, but she bogeyed Nos. 14, 15 and 16 and fell out of contention.
“Overall I played fine, but I think I put too much pressure on my putting by not hitting greens,” Gallagher said. “My putting was really good, but I needed to rely on that less and hit better shots. I’m a little disappointed with that.”
She wasn’t the only area golfer to enjoy some success.
Blue Springs junior Mariah Peters took eighth place with a 158. It marks her third straight top-10 finish at the state championship. She finished runner-up as a sophomore last fall and in sixth place as a freshman.
Blue Springs South golfer Madison Frerking placed 18th, and Notre Dame de Sion’s Amanda Malecki took 20th.
Malecki sparked Notre Dame de Sion to a third-place team finish for the second straight season.
Warrensburg won the Missouri Class 2 team title, paced by Taylor BeDell, who finished 2 shots behind Jung for second place.
Blue Springs took sixth, with Lee’s Summit West placing seventh.
Barstow coach Joe Taylor said he didn’t worry about how freshman Olivia Laub would react to her first high school state championship tournament. After all, Laub spent the summer competing in similar tournaments across multiple states.
The experience came in handy Tuesday.
Laub placed fourth in the Missouri Class 1 state championship at Sedalia Country Club after posting back-to-back rounds of 80 for a two-round total of 160. Westminster Christian Academy golfer Jessica Dreesbeimdieke ran away from the field with a 147.
“I was pretty happy with such a good placing because I played pretty average,” Laub said. “It was my first time playing the course. The greens were tricky to play at first, but it was the same for everyone.”
Indeed, few mastered the course, with only three golfers breaking 80 in the second round Tuesday.
Lawson golfer Madalynn Propst took 16th place.
Smithville finished fourth in the team standings, and Richmond took sixth.