A windy day probably isn’t the most enjoyable to practicing golf. But for Blue Springs South senior Jordan Rehkow, such a day last week proved beneficial Monday during the Class 2 Sectional 4 Tournament at WinterStone Golf Course.
Stiff breezes were the norm, with some light rain during the last 10 minutes of play, but Rehkow, a pair of her Jaguar teammates and the Blue Springs girls team handled the conditions well enough to punch tickets to next week’s state tournament at Meadow Lake Acres Country Club in New Bloomfield.
Rehkow fired a 3-over-par 75 (39-36) to achieve medalist honors, with classmate Maddie Frerking not far behind with a 79 (37-42). Like last year, they will be joined by Tara Thorp, who carded an 87.
Their crosstown rival Wildcats, who advanced out of districts as a team last week instead of South by virtue of a fifth-golfer score tiebreaker, had a team total of 347 to nip Notre Dame de Sion by a single stroke for a successful defense of their sectional title.
“It was windy at my practice round here, and I took good notes,” said Rehkow, who also credited the putting advice she received during practice from Sheri Rehmer, a former tennis coach at South and avid golfer. “This course, you have to play target golf.
“I was nervous, but I figured if I played my game I would be fine. I didn’t try to overpower; I just had a nice, smooth swing. I didn’t try to pin seek, which I do sometimes. It was playing long. The course is uphill a lot, and the wind was in our face.”
Like last year Blue Springs coach Jill Courter’s team beat a Sion team it was runner-up to at districts. The Wildcats finished fourth at state last year.
“I felt like the whole day we were fighting to stay alive,” Courter said. “The front kind of ate us up. Everyone had trouble putting. The greens were just rolling quick, and some of the pins were tough.”
Blue Springs’ team win might well have been saved in the last group to finish, when junior Mariah Peters pitched out of the bunker on No. 18 to a couple feet and made her par putt. Peters, who finished second at state individually last season, finished with an 80 to lead the Wildcats after starting 7-over on her first six holes.
“I just wanted to get up and down; I had no idea it would be to win sectionals,” Peters said.
“I knew I needed to calm down,” she said of her rough start. “I just decided I would hit and play, and I was 1-over the rest of the way. I knew where everyone else was, so I just wanted to help my team.”
“She started to freak out,” Courter said of Peters, “but she is mentally tough, and I’m proud of her for being able to get it together.”
Freshman Mady Acers backed Peters with an 82, followed by Jailyn Marshall (92), Hannah Reynolds (93) and Kalli Wood (112).
Jumping right into the lineup and helping Blue Springs return to state is what Acers said she hoped to do this year.
“I was hitting greens, so that made it easier,” she said of Monday’s round. “In the beginning it was kind of rough, but I just played my game.”
Frerking might well have bested Rehkow for medalist honors if not for some stumbles on No. 18, where a par 4 would’ve meant a round of 74.
“I was striking the ball really well,” Frerking said. “I was only 2-over going into the last hole, and I completely blew up and took a 9. I went in the water twice, flew the green and chipped back past the green. It was so upsetting.
“The last time I took a 9 on a hole was sectionals my sophomore year. It was really upsetting, but I was playing with a good friend of mine (Kearney’s Chandler Gallagher). She had a 9 on a par-5, and she kept the mood really light.”
A return trip to state with her two teammates helped ease the sting of her finish, Frerking said.
“I heard Tara was struggling, but I’m really glad she turned it around,” she said, “because it wouldn’t be same without her down at state.”
Other team scores were Liberty 387, Lee’s Summit North 418 and Staley 421. North had qualified four individuals out of districts, and one of them, Lindsey Graham (97) earned one of the last individual state berths (top two teams and 15 next-best individuals advanced).
Grain Valley’s Kaylee Hutchens barely missed advancing with a 98, while Fort Osage’s Marina Rios carded 106 and Truman’s Emma McClellan 107.