Talented Field Dealt With Tough Scoring Conditions
Kansas City, Mo. - Golfers at yesterday’s MoKan Invitational held at Blue Hills Country Club were forced to deal with temperatures in the mid-90’s and typical of the weather in the Midwest, it also came with strong winds that gusted at the end of the player's rounds to nearly 45 mph at one of Kansas City’s most prestigious and toughest courses.
It spoke volumes when Notre Dame de Sion sophomore Meagan Propeck walked off the 18th green, her father beaming with pride, greeted her with a hug and the words, “You’re a rock star!”
She indeed was that, and it could have been for numerous reasons.
Doug Propeck, her father, could have been referring to the 300-yard drive she had just unleashed down the middle of the 18th fairway or barely missing a difficult 25-foot downhill slider for eagle on the same hole.
As a dad who’s seen his daughter play hundreds of rounds during her young career, he recognized what she just accomplished. After finishing second last year in the same event (only twice did she fail to win overall top honors), she bested the field with a round of one-under par (71). Lee’s Summit West senior McKenna Rice, a University of Central Missouri State commit, was the only other player in the field to finish in the 70’s (79).
The challenging conditions elevated scores higher than previous years which is in its 15th year and regarded as the most prolific high school girl’s tournament in the region, attracting teams from as far away as St. Louis including last year’s Missouri State Champion St. Joseph’s Academy.
“Coming out I wanted to shoot a round of even, and I knew it was going to be windy. I just wanted to keep the ball in the fairway and try to make putts and score low that way,” said Propeck, who as a freshman won the Missouri high school big-class state championship last year. “It just kept getting windier and windier. I was like, “Oh my goodness, this is going to be a fight, this round is a fight.””
What a grueling round it was.
“Unless you play golf, I don’t think you can relate to what those kids did today,” Sion head golf coach Dana Hoeper said. “Even those kids who shot 95 or 100 hung in there and did that, is tremendous. It makes me so proud of how far girls golf has come. What Meagan did today is phenomenal.”
For reference, the Tom Watson Challenge was hosted on the same course in 2011. Watson won the tournament, and two of his three rounds (each 70) were only one-stroke lower than what Propeck recorded yesterday. In fairness, the course was set up tougher, such as harder pin placements, longer from tee-to-green and thicker rough.
It’s hard to fathom a young lady a young lady who has only had her driver’s license for a few months was able to card a round, one stroke behind a man who has five British Opens, two Masters victories and a US Open on his resume.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Propeck has her sights set on doing something no other female golfer in the state of Missouri has ever done – To become a four-time Missouri State Champion.
“Nobody has won the state championship four times in a row,” said Propeck. “That’s one of my goals.”
Sion’s Caroline Giocondo finished third in the event with an impressive round of 80 followed by Lia Johnson (86), Hellen Willis (89) and Barbara May King (96).
The team title for this year’s MoKan event went to St. Joseph’s (St. Louis) who bested Sion by one stroke with a team total of 325. It was an impressive performance as all five of their varsity team members had rounds between 81-84. Mia Rallo led the way with an 80.
Sion finished one stroke back for the team title, and Hoeper is excited about her team moving forward which lost last year’s MSHSAA team title to St. Joseph’s.
“I was glad to see how close we can play them (St. Joseph’s), said Hoeper. “I knew my girls had gotten better over the summer. In practice over the last two and a half weeks, I know how much they’ve improved. There were a couple of rough starts, but I know they can play a lot better.”
The Sion junior varsity squad earned a ninth-place finish with Sydney Crouch firing a 92 to lead the way.
News and Notes
Liberty North head coach Jeff Braden is excited about his team’s future, and it’s easy to see why. Eagle freshman phenom Averi Mickelson was impressive in her high school debut carding an 84 to place eighth.
Shawnee Mission East had the low team total of any Kansas school placing third. Megan Stoppern had the low round for the day for the Lancers with an 85. It was followed by Martha Saferstein (86), Hanna Robinett (86), Hope Robinett (89) and Tess Roman (92).
For the first time in the history of Missouri girls golf, the state championship will be held in Kansas City this fall. Swope Park will host this year’s tournament in mid-October.
This year’s sectional contest will be a fun one to watch as teams vie for two spots at this year’s championship. Four strokes separated Staley, Lee’s Summit West, Liberty and St. Teresa’s on Monday for fourth place.