MARYVILLE, Mo. — Injured Spoofhound golfer Ainsley Watkins drove home and brought all the dry, warm clothes she could back to Mozingo Lake Recreation Park on Monday morning and her teammates were grateful.
The Spoofhounds and the rest of the teams of Class 1, District 16 had their hands full with the weather. A windy morning also brought rain and cold, but MSHSAA is very particular on when it wants its tournaments played and the tournament rolled on.
“It was pretty rough in the beginning, because it was pouring, it was freezing and it was windy,” Maryville sophomore Cailyn Auffert said.
Nine golfers ended up withdrawing from the tournament as the conditions persisted, but none of the five Maryville golfers did.
“It was just miserable, miserable, miserable conditions,” Maryville coach Brenda Ricks said. “It was cold. It was wet. It was blowing. The blowing rain was what was making it tough. There was one girl in the middle of the 10th fairway (her first hole), she said she couldn’t feel her hands and wanted to contact her coach because she wanted to leave.”
Maryville battled through with the help of some of Watkins’ clothing and three Spoofhound sophomores will be making their way to the state tournament next week.
“I’ve never golfed in anything like that,” Maryville sophomore Casey Phillips said. “It was pretty miserable. Rain was going in your eyes and it was dripping off your face. It was tough.”
For Auffert and Lauren Jaster, it is a return trip after they each qualified as freshmen. For Phillips, it will be her first state tournament.
Ricks was happy to have Phillips join the group who will get that state experience.
“I’m excited for the three of them to get to go, and there will be more next year,” Ricks said.
All three Spoofhounds who qualified for state played this summer in the Northwest Missouri Junior Tour.
“I think we can be forever grateful to Mike Habermehl for having that Junior Series,” Ricks said, referencing the organizer of the Junior Tour.
It was a tough wait for Phillips though who shot a 131 and didn’t think there was much of a chance for her to make the cut. But as the scores were posted it became more and more clear that the scores would be higher this season because of the weather.
The wait was still a long one for Phillips as the first group finished their round three hours ahead of the last group. As the scores went up, Phillips and her teammates became more hopeful.
“I wasn’t very confident going in, but Brenda and my teammates came over and were like, you have a chance,” Phillips said. “Then it started getting stressful and after the last few teams came in, I was confident about going.”
Finally, it was decided. The final cut was 131 so Phillips was among the last two into state.
“It is exciting, a little nerve-wracking, but exciting,” Phillips said.
The final number was a heart-breaker for teammate Maggie Webb. The sophomore finished with a 136 which was the lowest score eliminated. Fellow sophomore Brinley Conn had a 151.
“They just all improved so much,” Auffert said.
Auffert and Jaster had more comfortable waits as they easily qualified. Auffert finished third in the district for the second-straight year.
“Even though it was not the best weather, it was still fun,” Auffert said.
With East Buchanan’s Madison Jessen winning the tournament with a 93 and East Atchison’s Alex Barnett taking second with a 99, Auffert tied East Atchison’s Kelsea Kirwan and Gallatin’s Elle Copple for third with a 102.
Auffert narrowly missed a state medal as a freshman last season and will be returning this season to try and accomplish that.
Jaster got her first taste of state last season and the sophomore battled injuries in the offseason and early this year, but was sharp in districts with a 114 to finish eighth overall.
“I’m really excited,” Jaster said. “I kind of got nervous as I was playing because I didn’t feel like I was playing very good, but with the weather, it ended up being just fine. I’m really happy to be back.”
The two teams to qualify out of the district were district champion East Atchison and runner up East Buchanan. Maysville will also compete as a team with four individual qualifiers.
The Class 1 State Tournament is next Monday and Tuesday at Silo Ridge Golf and Country Club in Bolivar. Tee times have yet to be released.