After a slow start, Platte County recovered for a second-place finish in Monday’s Oak Park Invitational, held on The Posse Course at Paradise Pointe Golf Complex in Smithville.
Eden Shipp, the senior No. 1 for the Pirates, led the way with a third-place fish, carding an 11-over 83 to continue her strong run of play. Bailey Silcott, a junior, returned to her normal form, tying for fifth, while sophomore Lily Ricketts made it three total medalists with a tie for eighth place.
Silcott shot an 89, while Ricketts was three shots back with a 92.
“We are very proud of the way the team played today,” Platte County coach Trevor Short said. “We started off a little rocky at the beginning, but brought back the fire after the first few holes of the day. The team managed to finish the day strong.”
Platte County freshman Ella Green rounded out Platte County’s team score with a 96, which put her alone in 16th place. She has been a consistent part of the top four in the lineup along with Shipp, Silcott and Ricketts — all returners from last year’s Class 3 Missouri State Golf Championships qualifying team.
However, Short continues to tinker with the last spot and played junior Brylie Kovar in the Oak Park Invitational. She shot a 108 and continues to battle with junior Ava Villareal and sophomores Wren Wilkins and Mackenzie Borland for playing time.
Platte County has struggled in dual play this year and will have a chance to improve on that in Monday’s match with Staley after it was postponed. Tournament play has generally been a strength for the Pirates, and that showed again Monday in what was a big bounce back for a squad with big goals coming up in the Suburban Conference Blue Division Championships and the reformatted Class 3 District 4 competition.
Entering the final weeks of the regular season, Platte County will look to win a sixth straight conference title and then advance back to state. Last season, teams had had to qualify at least four individuals out of district to earn a team bid but due to weird results, the state has gone back to automatic qualifiers.
This season, the district champion and runnerup will advance their top four players to state, and the fifth can also qualify if tied with for the team’s fourth best score or finishing in the top 12 individuals not from the qualifying team. A school that qualifies four or five individuals while finishing outside of the top two would also be a team competitor.
“The mid-year grind has gotten us a little bit, but we will regroup this week and re-energize for the duration of the season,” Short said. “The rest of this week we will focus on getting our bodies healthy and refocusing mentally.”
Platte County hosts Staley on Monday and then competes in the Smithville Invitational back at Paradise Pointe Golf Complex on Tuesday.
Liberty North Invitational
Minus Ricketts, Platte County struggled in a tough field of mostly Class 4 competition last Tuesday at Winterstone Golf Course in Liberty. The Pirates received a preview of the course a few days earlier, but only Shipp and Green came up with consistent rounds.
Shipp recorded three of Platte County’s five birdies on the day, but a bad hole early on the backside kept her from a record round. She ended up shooting a 10-over 82 and placing sixth as the Pirates’ lone medalist.
Green came in a tied for 25th with a 92, while Silcott shot a 97 and tied for 33rd.
With Ricketts out, Wilkins tied for 56th with a 110 to round out Platte County’s team score. Borland followed up a strong varsity debut with a 121 and tied for 164th.
Outside of Platte County, Kearney was the only other Class 3 school at the tournament. The Pirates still finished sixth as a team.
“It was a tough battle, on a tough course, against tough competition,” Short said. “We held our own against some of the best in the area. We knew going in that we would have to keep the ball in play and avoid those big numbers. We had a few of those numbers today, but there were signs of improvement by all golfers even though the scores may not have reflected those improvements.”