The first few tee shots Park Hill High School junior Sam Paulak launched on Monday left her wondering if perhaps it just wasn’t her day — that maybe her goal of winning the Missouri Class 2, Sectional 4 golf meet would have to wait another year.
But the rest of her game — most notably her chips and putts — picked up the slack. And then some.
Paulak won the state-qualifying meet on Monday, when she shot an even-par 72 at Adams Pointe Golf Course. That was two strokes better than Blue Springs golfers Jailyn Marshall and Madyson Acers.
“My driver wasn’t so great in the beginning of the round, but I had some good chips that helped me get up and down, which helped me stay in it,” Paulak said. “And then I had some putts that finally went in that really haven’t been (falling) this year.”
That will provide Paulak with some momentum heading into the Missouri Class 2 state tournament, a two-day event that will be held Monday and Tuesday at the Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield. Paulak fell one stroke shy of all-state honors last season.
“I haven’t thought too much about state last year — I have this year to worry about,” Paulak said. “But I’m certainly glad I have another shot to play better.”
Paulak competed in the individual portion of the tournament after Park Hill failed to qualify its full team from district play.
Liberty and Liberty North took their full squads to the sectional tournament Monday, but they failed to lock up state-meet berths. Those spots instead went to defending state-champion Blue Springs and Notre Dame de Sion.
Nevertheless, the Northland will still be heavily represented at the Missouri Class 2 state tournament. The top 12 individuals who were not on the two state-qualifying teams also earned a spot in the state meet in Springfield next week.
Those honors went to Kearney’s Anna Zech, who took fourth overall at the sectional tournament Monday; Liberty’s Brianna Walker (seventh), Kelsi Schmitz (ninth) and Morgan Basye (15th), Liberty North’s Layke Graybill (10th) and Maddy Mattson (11th), Park Hill South’s Miranda Steczak (11th) and Platte County’s Jessalyn Shipp (15th).
Zech won the Suburban Blue Conference tournament earlier this season, and Kearney won the team conference title.
Mattson won the Suburban White Conference championship last month, which helped the Eagles claim the team conference trophy, as well.