Osage, Versailles and Camdenton golfers tee off with the best in the stateLake Sun Leader, Camdenton, Mo. — Michael Losch Lake Sun Leader, Camdenton, Mo.
May 16--The grand finale of boys' high school golf took place across the state on Monday and Tuesday.
Versailles juniors Ori Bartlett and Garrett Boatright, Osage sophomore Ethan Kline and Camdenton sophomore Spencer Melville set out for two 18-hole rounds of golf among the best of Missouri at their respective state tournaments. After all the score cards were turned in, Bartlett earned his place among the best and achieved All-State recognition while the others gained valuable experiences with their first trips to state.
A drought came to an end on Tuesday afternoon during the Missouri Class 2 tournament at Meadow Lake Acres Country Club in New Bloomfield.
Bartlett became the first Tiger to earn All-State honors since 2006 graduate and two-time individual state champion Justin Yoder did so 12 years ago by finishing 12th amongst a field of 90. The All-State team is comprised of the top 15 individuals and Bartlett earned his rightful place among them.
"Ori worked really hard for the last three years so to see him make All-State was tremendous and shows that the hard work paid off. He deserved getting there and performed what he needed to so I'm real proud of him," Versailles coach Chuck Campbell stated.
"It's good to see Versailles back on the map of state golf."
Campbell said Bartlett, who made his first appearance at state a season ago, was better prepared this time around as he carded a score of 162 after 36 holes to finish 19 strokes over par.
"He did an excellent job and it was kind of a tough course to stay in the fairways. At times he missed the fairway, but he was able to get out and get back on track," Campbell noted. "His chips and putts were really good and it helped him make All-State."
There was also another Tiger in action the past two days as Boatright tested his skill among some of the best in the state. The junior went on to card a score of 195 to finish tied for 75th in his first trip to the final show.
"The first time there is always kind of rough for most kids. His first nine holes were not quite where he wanted to be, but I'm proud of him because he shot a 44 on the next nine to get back on track," Campbell noted. "Overall, he had a better day on Tuesday and improved his standing when golfers usually shoot worse on the second day. Hopefully, next year he'll have a chance to get back to state again and improve the second time around."
Campbell also would not mind seeing a few more Tigers at state as well with a team that was comprised mostly of juniors and sophomores.
"Hopefully they can play a lot this summer to improve and hopefully it will motivate them to see what they can do and make it to state during their high school careers and get a team there," the coach said. "We just want to push kids to strive to be better and be like Ori and Garrett and get to state. It is all positive going forward."
Kline was in familiar territory on Monday and Tuesday as he took his swings at the Class 3 championships at Old Kinderhook Golf Resort in Camdenton.
The sophomore set out amongst a field of 92 in his first appearance at state and finished tied for 33rd with a score of 161 to finish 19 over par.
"It is a whole different ballgame when you get to this level. Everyone is nervous on day one and so to fight through those nerves and go play and the more experience you have at these, the easier that becomes," Osage coach L.J. Weeks said.
"I remember Jacob's (Krantz) first year at state and even the second year he was nervous so that just goes with anything," Weeks added of the 2017 All-State golfer who finished fifth in the state. "But he (Kline) played well. I'm proud of Ethan and he had a great season. I know he was not thrilled with the last two days, but I think he'll take a lot of positives away from this."
Weeks said one of the biggest things to take away was confidence and noted that Kline should have plenty because the coach has seen what he is capable of.
"That was a big thing we talked about the last two days was 'Stick to your game.' He likes to play aggressive and sometimes when you are nervous, it is hard to trust yourself to go do that," the coach remarked. "I think that will be the biggest key moving forward is trusting himself because he has got a great game."
Weeks also took some time to commend the efforts of assistant Matt Eidson over the course of the two-day tournament and now, he is looking forward to seeing Kline take steps to make those improvements and what 2019 has to offer.
"He (Kline) has got a busy summer and is playing a lot of AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) tournaments so he'll get a lot more experience. He has a great game and now he has to learn how to go win tournaments," Weeks stated. "Believe it or not, that is actually kind of a big thing that people learn to do so hopefully he'll make that happen this summer. I cannot wait for next year and we have a bright future ahead."
Melville was determined to finish strong in his first trip to state at the Class 4 championships in Kansas City at Swope Memorial Golf Course.
After finishing 13 strokes over par on day one, Melville improved his score by eight strokes on the next 18 holes to finish tied for 65th in a field of 90 with a two-day total of 162.
"It was a great experience for Spencer. His first day was about average for him, but he had a couple of big numbers that jumped his score up a bit," Camdenton coach Shawn Maschino pointed out. "The second day was much better and he started off with a chip-in birdie on the first hole. I think that helped him mentally to stay positive."
Melville went on to finish with four birdies to improve his standing and Maschino was glad to see that consistency.
"I thought he chipped and putted very well on the second day. The course was not very long, but it was narrow in some places. Overall, he made good decisions throughout the two-day tournament."
Time will soon tell if Melville can make a habit of improving and make another run at state in his final two years as a Laker.
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