Eldon’s Hull and Osage’s Riley to take on the best in Missouri

Golfers from Eldon and School of the Osage set out for the links at Fremont Hills Country Club in Nixa on Monday knowing they were just one step away from the state tournament.

That kind of setting may understandably be intense for any golfer, but it was no so for Osage’s Sydney Riley and Eldon’s Kassidy Hull as they both made the cut and punched their tickets for one final show with the best golfers in Missouri next Monday.

“It was great to see Kassidy qualify for state for a second time,” Eldon coach Matt Frey said of the sophomore golfer. “She has been playing great this year and we look forward to the tournament. Last year was cut short by a day so Kassidy did not feel like she was able to finish like she wanted. She has a real fire under her to finish strong this year.”

Likewise, Osage coach L.J. Weeks offered a similar sentiment about his state qualifier.

“She has worked very hard on her game and it is great to see that work pay off,” the coach said of Riley. “She is the first female golfer from Osage to qualify for state since Taylor Hayes five years ago I believe.”

Eldon set out with all five golfers in the  Class 1 sectional after winning the first district title in program history last week and Osage also had the privilege of competing as a team as well. There were a total of five teams and the top two teams qualify for state. Osage finished third with a score of 450 and Eldon finished fourth at 456 while Springfield Catholic bested the field with a 343 and Logan-Rogersville carded a 398.

Individually, there were 48 golfers trying to make the cut for state after a round of 18 holes and only the top 12, not counting members of the top two teams got to advance. Therefore, the cutoff ended up being a score of 105.

Hull had no trouble meeting that requirement for the Mustangs as she finished second in the field with a 79. Meanwhile, Emalee Bennett finished 26th with a 113, Hannah Petet shot a 128 to tie for 38th, Meladee Strickland carded a 136 to finish 44th and Reece Henderson ended her day with a 152 to take 48th.

“The day went well. We fell short on advancing as a team, but the girls have nothing to hang their head about,” Frey said of the group. “We made school history and won a district title and I feel privileged to have been along for the ride. The girls all set goals at the beginning of the season and all of them met and went beyond those goals.”

As for Osage, Riley shot a round of 103 to finish 15th and punch her ticket to the final dance. Emily Maher ended her day with a round of 109 to tie for 21st, Destiny Drake put up a 111 to place 24th, Maddie Yoder shot a 127 to finish 37th and Chloe Dehner scored a 133 to take 43rd.

“The rest of my team had a solid day,” Weeks noted. “Emily and Destiny just missed the cut by a few strokes and I was proud of everyone’s efforts. Yesterday was the last tournament for my three seniors and I’ve truly enjoyed being their coach. I look forward to honoring them at our upcoming banquet.”

As for Riley and Hull, there is one last tournament left to play. The best Class 1 golfers will meet on Monday for the two-day tournament at Mozingo Lake Recreational Park Course in Maryville. The course is a par 72.

“We will spend the next few days working on things for the tournament and making sure she is comfortable with her game before Monday,” Frey said of the week’s preparations. “We will leave early Sunday to head up for a practice round to see the course and make a plan to go as low as possible for two days and see where she can finish.”

Weeks and Riley will likely have a similar plan of attack in place.