A sectional golf tournament can be a nerve-wracking experience, and there was plenty of pacing, fidgeting and calculating going on in the clubhouse May 12 as the numbers trickled in at the Class 4 sectional at Independence’s Winterstone Golf Course.
Lee’s Summit North senior Keaton Black knows the feeling. But this time, Black didn’t join in the fretting.
He knew he had little to worry about.
Black secured his second trip to the Class 4 state golf tournament by shooting a 1-over par 73, good for a tie for fourth place and more than good enough to put him among top 15 golfers not on the first- and second-place teams and into next week’s state meet at The Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau.
Black made it to state as a sophomore, and in last year’s sectional at Adams Pointe he was one of those Nervous Nellies. He missed going to state by 1 stroke.
This time, Black removed all suspense by going 1-over 37 for the first nine and even-par 36 on the back for his best round of the season. And that’s even after bogeying the last two holes.
“Of all the days and tournaments, I’m glad I had my best at sectionals,” Black said. “I’m pretty thrilled, I’m excited.”
So is Lee’s Summit North coach Kevin Harrison, who said last year’s close call gave Black ample motivation this season.
“It’s been a goal all year for him and I’m happy for him because he worked so hard to get this opportunity,” Harrison said.
Black is the only Bronco to move on of the five who qualified for sectionals at last week’s district meet. Ian Mathewson and Parker Davis both shot 83s, 3 strokes over what turned out to be the cut at 80. Mathewson was even after nine but struggled through an 11-over 47 on the back. Alan Ashby shot an 86 and Trey DeRousse had a 94.
“I really feel sorry for Ian,” Harrison said. “It’s good to get five guys to sectionals. Next year we hope we’ll take the next step.”
Nelson Searcy of Lee’s Summit West took that step with a 5-over 77. Searcy, a sophomore, will make his first trip to state with teammate Kerry Maguire, who shot an 80.
“I was very excited,” Searcy said. “I haven’t had a round that low this year, and I’ve been close, but it finally came together today.”
Searcy struggled a couple of times to keep it together. He had a double bogey early in the front nine but birdied No. 8 for a 38 on the front nine. He took a triple bogey on No. 14 and then birdied the next two holes.
“I was pretty bummed but I knew I still had a good chance because I was sitting 7 over par,” Searcy said of his thoughts after the 14th hole. “I knew if I parred out, shooting a 79 would be great and I did better than that.”
Maguire just made the cut at 80, but Titans teammate Robert McKee missed it by 1 stroke. Blake Kobel also came close with an 83. West, which qualified as a team at districts, finished fifth in the team standings with a 321 total. Rockhurst and Liberty both finished at 297, but Rockhurst won a fifth-score playoff by 1 stroke for the team title.
“We’re really pretty excited about qualifying two for state,” West coach Richard Myers said. “We didn’t qualify anybody last year, so it’s nice to get back.”
Summit Christian Academy’s Tim Cook shot a 4-over 75 and took third place in the Class 2 sectional tournament at Shirkeys Golf Course in Richmond. Cook will play in the Class 2 state tournament May 19-20 at the Silo Ridge Golf Club in Bolivar.