Not many high school golfers can boast a three-time all-state portfolio, but Kickapoo’s Ari Acuff wanted more.
She wanted a championship.
Acuff, a year removed from a runner-up finish at state, had a start to forget in the 2016 edition held at Columbia Country Club.
Seven-over par just three holes into Monday’s opening round, Acuff battled back to forge an eventual fifth-place finish – and the third all-state showing of her career – but fell six strokes shy of a coveted state championship.
“Honestly, the rest of my 34 holes were good. I just wish I could take back those first two,” Acuff said. “I think it just threw me off. It was a rough start. I dug myself a hole too deep.”
Highlighting Acuff’s early woes was a drop violation that penalized the Kickapoo senior two strokes.
Acuff and her coach protested the ruling, but the decision was upheld after an officials’ vote.
Acuff shot a two-over in her remaining 15 holes on Monday to finish with a round of 80 (+9). She shot a four-over 75 on Tuesday, ultimately finishing six strokes behind co-champions Julia Bower (Rock Bridge) and Claire Solovic (Seckman).
Acuff tied for 14th at state as a sophomore.
“I’m happy (with all-state). I can’t do anything about it now,” Acuff said. “It’s over with now. It’s weird.”
The three-sport athlete will now turn her focus to basketball for the defending Class 5 state champion Kickapoo Lady Chiefs. In the spring, Acuff is set to return as a four-year starter at goalkeeper.
She hopes to continue her golf career in college.
“I’m waiting to hear a few things back, but I think I’m close to a decision. I have a pretty good idea where I want to go,” Acuff said.
While the book closed on Acuff’s high school golf career, the first chapter for a promising newcomer was unveiled. Glendale freshman Wriley Hiebert joined seven others with a round of 164 to place in the last possible spot for all-state honors.
“I was definitely surprised that I ended up tied and getting all-state,” Hiebert said. “I was just really, really happy.”
Hiebert followed up a Monday round of 81 with an 83 showing on Tuesday.
“I was like, ‘Just hit one shot at a time and don’t stress about it. If you don’t win, it’s totally fine. You’ve already made it this far, so just go for it,” Hiebert said.
Joining Hiebert in the eight-way tie for 14th place was another Ozark Conference golfer, Camdenton junior Amber Wilson.
“I was really happy and surprised at the same time because there were some really good scores in the first day,” Wilson said. “But, then again, there was a lot of wind (today) which kind of threw everyone off, especially me. But it was all-right. It was awesome getting all-state again.”
Wilson shot 79-85—164 in earning all-state honors for the second time in her career.
“Last year I was really nervous because I missed the cut (for all-state) by two strokes my freshman year, so I was really nervous the second day,” Wilson said. “This year, I just had a few bad holes here and there but I managed to pick it up and finish well.”
Carl Junction placed seventh in the team standings, led by Kylie Carnes (173) and Jenna Teeter (173), who tied for 34th.
OTHER CLASS 2 INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
T29. Olivia Ramsey, Nixa, 86-85—171
Katie Hamilton, Republic, 87-87—174
T43. Anna Iorio, Joplin, 85-92—177
Marisa Butler, West Plains, 90-94—184
T56. Kenya Medlock, Carthage, 92-93—185
State Golf: Extended Web Highlights
CATHOLIC’S PFITZNER ALL-STATE IN CLASS 1
In its first year as program, Springfield Catholic can already an all-state golfer to its record books.
Kayla Pfitzner shot 86-84—170 to tie for 15th in the Class 1 state tournament held at Meadow Lake Acres Country Club in New Bloomfield.
She was the only local all-state finisher in the event.
Greenwood’s Meredith Sharp shot 86-88—174, finishing in 19th place overall. Greenwood placed sixth in the team standings (387-389—786).
Purdy, competing at state for the first time as a team, placed eighth (424-424—848). Zoe Brown (93-94—187) was the Eagles’ top finisher, tying for 33rd overall.
OTHER LOCAL CLASS 1 INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
T32. McKenna Krysl, Hollister, 93-93—186
T42. Maggie Moore, Seneca, 95-95—190
T55. Ashtynn Russell, Bolivar, 100-97—197
T55. Brooke Wendler, Mt. Vernon, 94-103—197
T60. Kayla Hobbs, Stockton, 102-99—201