JOPLIN – Golf can be a cruel game.
Sun Young Jung of Glendale battled her way to a score of 83 in the single-round Class 2 Missouri State High School Activities Association Girls Golf Championship. The 2013 state champion’s senior season ended with an eighth-place finish Tuesday in Joplin.
“It’s an honor. Right now I wish I would have done better, but it’s what I did today. I’m just thankful that I get to place for all-state,” Jung said.
Mariah Peters of Blue Springs shot a 3-over-par 75 to win the tournament at Twin Hills Country Club and lead her team to first place in the team standings with a score of 363. Blue Springs finished five shots better than second-place Kirkwood. Marquette came in third with a score of 378, and Joplin placed fourth, also with 378 but losing a tiebreaker in which the team’s No. 5 player’s score is counted.
Heavy showers and storms Monday in Joplin shortened the 2014 state championship tournament to 18 holes rather than the traditional 36.
Jung’s final round in Joplin began with disaster. She fired two tee shots into a water hazard and then hit her next ball over the green on a par-3 hole.
“As I always say, it happened, what can I do? I need to focus on my next shot,” Jung said.
Jung’s finish at the state tournament leaves Anne Cain as the only Glendale girls golfer to win two state championships (1984-85).
“It’s hard to win the state championship one time,” Glendale coach Ron Yocum said. “(Jung) is already a model of consistency. This week, good or bad, I think it will help her in the future with her college (golf career).”
Jung initially sat quietly in the clubhouse after a disappointing final round, but managed some smiles, laughs and fist-bumps with other players during the all-state ceremony.
A score of 86 marked the cut for all-state status, which is what Kickapoo sophomore Ari Acuff recorded with a 14th-place finish.
“It wasn’t my best day. I wouldn’t call it my worst. I’m fine with what I shot, but I feel like it could have been better,” Acuff said.
Gusting winds sent tee shots in unintended directions throughout the day for many players. Monday’s rain left some soft spots in the fairways, but several players reported that the greens dried out enough to play fast.
With only 18 holes deciding the state championship, pressure picked up and nerves came into play.
“I wasn’t quite as nervous as I was at sectionals last week, though. I felt like I didn’t have the pressure of having to shoot well to move on,” Acuff said.
Samantha Stout of Joplin scored 78 to finish third, Kelsy Temple of West Plains was fifth with a 79, and her twin sister Keely Temple also claimed all-state status with a 12th-place finish and a score of 85.