BELTON, Mo. — The worst playing conditions Platte County faced all year provided an extra degree of difficulty from the start of the Class 3 District 4 Tournament on Monday.
Teams were forced to wait around until noon for rain to clear up enough to allow for a shotgun start. The Pirates then navigated the waterlogged surfaces at Eagles’ Landing Golf Course to earn a repeat team to the Class 3 Missouri State Golf Championships.
Platte County earned one of two automatic spots in the field with a second-place finish at 386, five shots back of district champion Pembroke Hill. This year’s trip will be different for the Pirates due to the qualification format. Only the top four players can make the trip next week to New Bloomfield for the state tournament.
That means senior Eden Shipp, junior Bailey Silcott and sophomore Lily Ricketts will make repeat appearances, while freshman Ella Green also earned her spot.
“We are excited to go back, but we wish we had all five going,” Platte County coach Trevor Short said. “We had a rough start with everything and the conditions, especially not playing in it all year. Normally, a skort and a polo is enough, but today you had to bundle up and try to find your swing and that is a little tough with the rain, the wind and the cold.”
In 2020, Platte County earned its first-ever state berth in Class 3 and first trip that far as a team since last going as a Class 1 school in 2002 and 2003. All five Pirates made the field as individuals, including a pair of graduated seniors, in a format with no automatic team qualifiers.
Due to irregularities, the Missouri State High School Activities Association changed the setup again this year, allowing for two four-player teams plus the next 12 individuals including ties not from qualifying teams. The No. 5 players from qualifying teams are eligible to qualify as individuals, as well.
Shipp (runnerup, 13-over 85), Silcott (eighth, 93) and Green (ninth, 95) all would have made state regardless of the team results. However, Ricketts (21st, 113) needed Platte County’s team finish to make it back to state. She was five shots off of making the individual cut, but the Pirates finished a comfortable 18 shots in front of third-place Kearney.
Brylie Kovar, a junior, placed 29th with a 129 to round out Platte County’s five.
Shipp recorded one of only five rounds in the 80s. Almost the entire field played in cold, windy conditions through at least the opening nine holes, but the rain and sprinkles finally let up for the Platte County’s group after about 12 holes. The Pirates entered off winning their sixth straight Suburban Conference Blue Division title a week earlier with the lowest team score in program history (a 340) but scores were predictably higher due to the inclement weather.
Platte County even let the conference tournament to play a practice round at Eagles’ Landing, a course the players don’t see in their high school schedule.
“We played good enough to get through but I wish we could’ve played better, like last Monday,” Short said. “We all got to play in the conditions, and we were able to get out of it but it is a tough course in good conditions.”
Platte County finished fifth in Class 3 at state a year ago, playing in difficult rainy conditions, as well, and coming up just one stroke short of tying for a team trophy. However, the Pirates had not seen anything comparable since until Monday at District 4.
“It was pretty hard but it is a good way to learn,” Silcott said. “Around state time, the conditions, you never know.”
The back-to-back state trips have been affirmation for the development of Platte County’s team program. However, the Pirates have never had an individual claim all-state honors, which currently go to the top 15 golfers in each class.
Shipp, Silcott and Ricketts were all first-time qualifiers a year ago, and Green will get her first taste of the biggest tournament Monday and Tuesday. Shipp tied for 21st as a junior, setting a program-record previously held by older sister Kasydie Shipp for the lowest state round in program history with a second-round 83, bettering Kasydie’s 84. This year, Eden Shipp twice shot 81 to tie the overall low round with Kasydie and Amy Silcott, mother of Bailey.
A first-round 98 cost Eden Shipp last year before she bounced back with her low round for a 181 total.
Silcott finished in a tie for 42nd but shot 101-95—196 as Platte County’s second-best finisher in 2020, and she will have plenty of room for improvement. Ricketts struggled to a tie for 68th as the No. 5 in her freshman season, but enters this year as the No. 4 behind Green, who has enjoyed a standout freshman campaign.
“I’m really excited (going to state),” Silcott said. “I know we have a freshman, and I hope she’s excited. I’m excited for all of us. It is a great way to make memories. I think we will be prepared. I know last year I was pretty nervous. The goal is to make it and then when you get there you do as good as you can.”