Eldon places fourth at Class 2 State Tournament as Versailles' Bartlett earns All-State for second straight year and Osage's Kline looking to push forward after second state run

Eldon places fourth at Class 2 State Tournament as Versailles' Bartlett earns All-State for second straight year

More hardware is coming back to Eldon and a Versailles golfer earned All-State for the second year in a row.

Not a bad outing for the Lake area.

Eldon, the Tri-County Conference champions and Class 2 District 4 champions, were at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield on Monday and Tuesday for the Class 2 state tournament as one of the best eight teams in Missouri and walked away with a fourth place finish and state trophy.

Eldon finished with a team score of 705 after 36 holes behind state champion St. Pius X (678), Whitfield (686) and Father Tolton (697) and it was the first state trophy for the program since winning back-to-back state titles in 2000 and 2001.

“I could not be more proud of the direction of the golf program at Eldon,” said Eldon coach Matt Frey who also led the Mustang girls to a district title in the fall while Kassidy Hull earned All-State honors. “We work so hard all year long to get where we are. It starts in our youth programs and continues up to the high school level.”

Eldon was led by senior Austin Kostelnik who tied for 17th in the state amongst a field of 91 golfers. The course was a par 72 and Kostelnik shot an 89 on the first day and finished nine strokes better with an 89 the second day for a total score of 169. Sophomore Aidan Wells was right behind him, tying for 21st with a 170, junior Logan Schultz finished 36th with a 176, senior Nick Willingham put up a 190 to tie for 60th and senior Parker Dunham totaled 210 to tie for 85th.

“It was such an awesome two days,” Frey noted. “I was so proud to watch the boys overcome the first round. We did not have a great first day and I attribute a lot of that to nerves. The boys sat and talked most of the night as to how they would attack the course the next day to make a charge for a top four finish.”

Versailles senior Ori Bartlett also took his swings at Rivercut, making his third straight appearance at state, and he finished with All-State honors for the second year in a row.

After last season’s 12th place finish that gave him All-State status as one of the 15 best golfers in the state and becoming the first Tiger to do so since 2006, Bartlett moved up two spots to tie for 10th place with a score of 166 after 36 holes. Bartlett shot an 88 on the first day, but finished 10 strokes better on the second.

“Ori showed this week why we continually point to him as a model example of what we want in a Tiger athlete. He stuck it out when the chips were down, made sure he gave his best and worked his tail off to give himself a chance and it paid off,” Versailles coach Kyle Nolawski said. “We could not be more proud of him.”

Nolawski is hoping his other golfers take notice of the example.

“Throughout his four years, Ori has been a shining example of someone who knows what he wants to accomplish and is not afraid to put in the work to achieve it,” he said. “Rather, he fell in love with the process of getting better, and in the process, cultivated one heck of a career that I am so happy to have been a part of. I hope future golfers will look at his example and see that this is the right way to do things.”

Osage’s Kline looking to push forward after second state run

Osage junior Ethan Kline was back in the final show of the year at the Class 3 state tournament at Columbia Country Club on Monday and Tuesday and it was an outing the junior is wishing could have went a little better.

Kline tied for 54th out of 88 golfers on the par 72 course in Columbia with a two-day total of 168 after 36 holes.

“For the most part, he played well. He just had a hard time scoring,” Osage coach L.J. Weeks said. “On day one his putting let him down, but his ball striking was wonderful. On day two, it was almost the complete opposite.”

But the journey is not over for Kline who will be working on his game over the summer with various tournaments around the Midwest to make a strong push as a senior.

“Ethan’s game is very good. He is working on learning how to go win,” Weeks noted. “He made some strides in that area this season and hopefully his play this summer will get him farther along in that process. There is a difference between just playing golf and playing to win. I’m very proud of his season and the progress he made.”

Kline will lead the Indians next season along with Zach Krantz who will be a junior and the coach is looking forward to seeing what 2020 has in store.

“We will have good leaders at the top. The rest of my team will be a little young, but that is good,” Weeks said. “It means a good challenge for me to get new kids ready to play at a varsity level.”