Led by meet medalist Tommy Alferman, the St. Francis Borgia Regional golf Knights are heading to the MSHSAA Class 3 State Championships as a team.
Borgia finished second in the Class 3 Section 2 Meet held at Franklin County Country Club Monday.
While Borgia advanced, the second-place finish marked the first time the Knights didn’t win the team title at a tournament this season.
“We told the kids the No. 1 objective was to move on as a team,” Borgia Head Coach Dave Neier said. “Mission accomplished. We were able to do that. We shot well enough to move on as a team. Some of our golfers shot well and had really good days. We had two who didn’t shoot as well as normal, but we’ll get them going at the state meet.”
The state meet runs Monday and Tuesday at Old Kinderhook in Camdenton.
Priory won the team title with a score of 302. Borgia was second at 308. Both qualified full teams for the state tournament.
Other teams were MICDS (325), Westminster Christian Academy (326), St. Charles (343), St. Dominic (352) and Warrenton (364).
Union Coach Matt Goddard said the good weather helped to bring out the best in the golfers.
“We couldn’t have gotten blessed with better weather than we had today,” Goddard said. “And that resulted in some solid scores from the field.”
Borgia did have the individual medalist, senior Tommy Alferman. He shot one stroke under par at 70 to lead the field.
“Tommy wasn’t playing his best golf on the front nine,” Neier said. “He said he only hit one green in regulation. He’s very good and he practices around the green a lot. He had opportunities on the back nine and made a few birdies.”
The top 20 individual finishers qualified for the state tournament along with the top two teams.
Union’s Josh Jones was next, shooting 72 to place second in the individual standings.
“I was extremely happy with the way Joshua Jones played,” Goddard said. “It seemed like he was the most confident I’ve seen him all year. Albeit, after the score he posted last week, we take it day by day. He had quite a few birdies on the day but struggled through the par threes. I am extremely excited for him to get the opportunity to go to the state tournament for the third time and for his senior year. If he plays like he did today he has a chance to do something special at Old Kinderhook Golf Course.”
Both Alferman and Jones shot two strokes under par on the back nine.
Priory nabbed two of the next spots with Peter Weaver at 73 and Ben Blase at 74.
Pacific’s Cameron VanLeer tied for fourth with a round of 74. He became Pacific’s first-ever four-time state qualifier.
VanLeer tied Alferman for the best score on the front nine. Both shot 36, one stroke over par. VanLeer started on the 10th hole with individual qualifiers.
“Cameron had a rough start was four over after five holes,” Pacific Coach John VanLeer said. “But showed his mental toughness and birdied three of next five holes. The course was in great shape. Cameron is the first player to qualify four times for state in Pacific golf history.”
Ending sixth was Sullivan’s Bennett Tiefenbrunn at 75.
“I’m proud of Bennett for qualifying for his fourth state tournament,” Sullivan Coach Dino McKinney said. “He played through a lot of pain today. He had a rib out of place and a pulled muscle last week.”
Borgia’s Will Schroeder and Zach Unnerstall tied for seventh at 76.
Priory’s Steven Wendling was ninth at 77.
Tying for eighth at 78 were Alex Garza of Priory, Cory Harrison of St. Charles and Logan Montgomery of Westminster Christian.
Tying for 13th were Warrenton’s Travis Toebben and Priory’s Gulshan Kodwani. Both shot 79.
The 15th-place golfers were Westminster’s Lane Davis and MICDS golfers James Mikula and Harry Mikula. All three shot 80.
Jeffrey Desloge of MICDS and Paul Schneider of St. Dominic tied for 18th at 81.
The final individual qualifier was Kevin Higgins of St. Charles West at 82.
Borgia’s Mark Maguire (86) and Brady Linz (97) also qualified for the state meet as members of Borgia’s runner-up team.
Missing the state meet by a stroke was Cody McKinney at 83.
“Also, it was a pretty good showing by Cody,” Dino McKinney said. “He’s disappointed about missing state by one stroke, but for a kid who is playing golf as a second sport, had a great season. He was able to compete with and beat a lot of good golfers.”
Other area golfers who ended the season at the sectional meet were Warrenton’s Brendan Day (85), St. Clair’s Justin Hoffman (85), Pacific’s Trey Boyer (88), Pacific’s Nick Vangyia (90), Warrenton’s Benjamin Mertens (94), Union’s Jacob Towell (97), Warrenton’s Brendan Schanuel (106) and Union’s Lucas Pyatt (109).
“Jacob Towell and Lucas Pyatt both struggled,” Goddard said. “Jacob seems to play much better through the second nine holes than he does the first nine. I am excited to have those two back next year, and I hope they both work hard in the offseason.”
Neier said the event couldn’t have been as successful without a lot of help.
“We got a great day and the course was in excellent condition,” Neier said. “They did a great job at Franklin County Country Club. A big thanks to Neal Clasen and Kelly Konczal of FCCC for all of their cooperation. Chip Thompson, Brad Bruns and Chris Arand did most of the work of running the meet.”