The Missouri state boys golf tournaments take place Monday and Tuesday at various sites. Here are five things to watch across the four classifications.
1. Liberty and Rockhurst are on a collision course. Only two teams in the state posted scores under 300 in the 16 sectional tournaments Monday, and they both came from Class 4, Sectional 4. Liberty and Rockhurst tied with scores of 297, and the two teams figure to extend their season-long battle into the Class 4 state tournament Monday and Tuesday at The Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau.
Trying for its seventh state title in nine seasons, Rockhurst has a handful of golfers capable of meriting individual honors at state, with Luke Henke, Gregory Watkinis and Peter Dierks posting low scores in back-to-back weeks in postseason play.
Liberty has been of the area’s pleasant surprises, winning the Suburban Gold Conference championship one year after three-time all-state selection Zac Dittmer graduated. The Blue Jays have one of the deepest teams in the state. Freshman Sam Parrott is playing his best golf of the season at the right time. He tied for the sectional championship Monday, with teammates Wayne Baker and Collin Schmidt not far behind.
2. Class 4 is chock-full of competitors. If the first two weeks of the postseason can foreshadow the state tournaments — as is often the case — the Class 4 event will be an intriguing one to watch. The district and sectional tournaments in Class 4 have provided unpredictable results, with some of the area’s best golfers falling short of the cut and others blossoming under pressuring.
In addition to the Liberty and Rockhurst groups, Park Hill South’s Nicholas Sobba and Luke Becker could throw their names into contention over the two-day tournament.
Other strong area contenders in Class 4 include Lee’s Summit North’s Keaton Black, Blue Springs South’s Robert Steinbeck and Kyle Barbee and Lee’s Summit West’s Nelson Searcy.
3. Pembroke Hill looks for a team effort. The team scores across the four Class 3 sectional tournaments were remarkably similar, opening the door for a compelling state tournament Monday and Tuesday at Fremont Hills Country Club in Nixa.
Pembroke Hill is the only local school to qualify its full squad in Class 3, and the Raiders are looking to improve on last season’s third-place finish at state. That effort will be led by Preston Fleenor, Zachary Cobb and William Esrey, who have been consistent with their scores all season. In addition to relying on their top three, the Raiders’ chances for a state title may hinge on how Charlie Hamilton and Jack Mitchell can shoot over the two-day tournament.
4. Pius’ Beaubien presses ahead in Class 3. St. Pius X fell short of its goal to qualify for the Class 3 state tournament, but No. 1 golfer Chris Beaubien will be a name to watch on the individual leader boards after he took second in the sectional tournament.
Platte County, Liberty North and Pleasant Hill narrowly missed out on sending their full teams to state, as well, but they will each be represented at the tournament.
In addition to Pembroke Hill’s trio, some Class 3 contenders include Harrisonville’s Nick Johnson, Pleasant Hill’s Eric Brons, Liberty North’s Caleb Davis and Platte County’s Chase Beamer and Matthew Madill.
5. Barstow is on a roll. Barstow has picked up two postseason tournament victories in two weeks. The Class 2 state tournament Monday and Tuesday at Silo Ridge Golf Club in Bolivar would be a perfect setting to make it three for three.
The Knights posted the best team score across all four Class 2 sectionals Monday (324), and they might have the deepest lineup in their class with Cody Adkins, Alec Adkins, Thomas Dunn, Tripp Walsworth and Jonathan Butch.
Lawson’s T.J. Pennington won the Class 2, Sectional 4 tournament a week after his teammate Tanner Smith won districts. Tim Cook of Summit Christian Academy is another district champion who qualified for the Class 2 state tournament.
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