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Truman golfers earn state berths – first for Patriots since 2011

By Cody Thorn
The Examiner
Truman's Katelyn Bragg chips onto the green from the fringe in the Class 3 District 4 Tournament Monday at Shiloh Springs Golf Course in Platte City. Bragg, who shot 95, and Molly Bradshaw, who carded a 106, became the first Truman girls golfers to make it the state tournament since 2011.

Truman will have a golfer at the state meet for the first time since 2011. In fact, they will have two of them.

Katelyn Bragg and Molly Bradshaw both made the cut out of the Class 3 District 4 tournament, which was held Monday at par-71 Shiloh Springs Golf Course in Platte City.

Both had marked improvement from last year’s district results and will represent Truman at the Class 3 state championships, which will be held Oct. 19-20 at Twin Hills Country Club in Joplin.

The last time the Patriots had a golfer at state was Madyson Smith advancing in 2011.

“It is a tough district and loaded with talent from top to bottom,” Truman coach Joey Penner said after his team took fifth in the team standings with a 423 total. “I truly would’ve never guessed we’d have two state qualifiers at the beginning of the year. We have a lot of talent, but this surprised me. I’ll tell you, as far as focus and wanting to get better, we haven’t had a bunch of girls like this in a long time.”

Getting to state this year became a lot harder than in past years due to changes at the state level, with the number of classes expanding from two to four. In the past the top two teams advanced to state and then the top 15 golfers from non-qualifying teams.

This year the cut was just the top 18 individuals.

Of the 18 spots to the state meet, district champion St. Teresa’s Academy had five spots and district runner-up Platte County had five more qualifiers.

That meant teams like Truman, Fort Osage, William Chrisman, Winnetonka, Raytown, Pembroke Hill Kearney, Raytown South and Belton were battling for eight spots.

Bragg shot a 95 to take 10th in the tournament, shooting 49 on the front nine and then 46 on the back nine – though it wasn’t the traditional start as she started at hole No. 10 and closed on the front nine.

Early morning conditions were cool and windy and that affected shots for Bragg and the rest of the field.

“I didn’t expect to go to state at all, but I definitely thought I had a chance when I shot 95,” said the junior, who shot 119 at districts last year. “I knew the cuts would be higher today.”

Bragg credited many rounds of playing this summer at Drumm Farm Golf Club in improving her game, 24 strokes better than last year’s district score and five better than her first event at Shiloh Springs.

Bradshaw, a sophomore, struggled last year in her first district meet. Only two golfers had lower scores than her 166. This year, she was one of two golfers to shoot 106 and earn the final spots to the state tournament.

“I wasn’t expecting to go to state at all,” Bradshaw said. “I was told I would have a chance but with a lot of scores still out, surely some will come in (lower) and they didn’t.”

Bradshaw said she kept repeating the team’s motto, “Happy thoughts, happy shots,” throughout the day.

The Patriots almost had a third going to state as Cate Maxey was 19th overall, shooting 109.

Chrisman shot 513 to finish seventh in the team standings. Fort Osage only had three golfers in the field.

Shelby White had the top finish for the Bears, shooting 120 and taking 27th place. Five shots – and spots in the standing – behind White was Fort Osage’s top placer, Ashlyn Buntin.

CLASS 3 DISTRICT 2: Grain Valley failed to advance anyone to state this year, finishing 10th as a team with a 473 in the Class 3 District 2 tournament at par-72 Jefferson City Country Club.

Seena Tyler finished five strokes away from the cutoff for state (top 18) with a 107 to lead the Eagles.

Jefferson City Helias Catholic, led by Greta Hinds’ runner-up 79, had the top team score of 370 and Sedalia Smith-Cotton’s Kiser Pannier shot 78 to earn medalist honors.

CLASS 1 DISTRICT 2: St. Michael the Archangel Catholic will send two to the Class 2 state tournament.

Ella Taylor shot 100 to tie for 10th and Avery Basler shot 102 to tie for 14th Monday at par-70 Sedalia Country Club to earn their spots in the state championships Oct. 19-20 at Meadow Lake Acres Country Club in New Bloomfield.

The Guardians finished third as a team with a 419 total. Sedalia Sacred Heart was on top at 372. Savannah Thessing of New Covenant Academy shot 79 for medalist honors.

Caitie Garlick shot 108 and Zoe O’Connor shot 109 to round out St. Michael’s team total.