On a perfect day for golf, Jackson Porter picked a perfect time for his best round of the year.
Porter, a Belton senior, shot a 7-over 79 and tied for ninth place overall in the Class 4 District 7 golf tournament May 5 at the Drumm Farm Golf Club in Independence. That score also made Porter one of two Cass County golfers to qualify for next week’s sectional tournament.
Porter had recorded sub-80 rounds in practice this season, but he had never reached that mark in competition. On a warm day with little wind, he toured the first nine in 5-over 41 and finished with a solid 2-over 38 on the back.
“I have shot 78 and 79 in practice rounds this year but it’s the first time I’ve put it together in a tournament,” Porter said. “I was seeing the greens pretty well and my drives weren’t getting me into too much trouble. I played the same ball all day so that helps.”
Porter, though, did have his struggles early. He three-putted on No. 1 and was 3-over after three holes, but recovered with six straight pars and a birdie on the par-5 ninth hole.
“I had a rough start,” Porter said. “I kind of found my groove on the back nine. Two-over 38 on back is a pretty good score and 41 is kind of average for me so I knew I had a good chance to break 80.”
The top two teams and 15 individuals not on those teams qualified for the sectional tournament May 12 at Winterstone Golf Course in Independence.
While Porter easily qualified, the rest of the Pirates didn’t fare as well. Nobody else broke 100, including Anthony Herrera, who shot an 89 the week before in the conference meet. Clayton Staats, who shot a 108, was a freshman playing in his first district tournament.
As a team Belton finished ninth with a 401 total.
“I was hoping for better,” Belton golf coach Casey Conklin said. “My one kid is a freshman and I think he’s going to be a pretty decent player on down the line. He had a decent day for a freshman at his first district tournament.”
Raymore-Peculiar senior Bubba Blackburn was the Panthers’ lone qualifier after shooting an 88. The Panthers finished seventh as a team at 364.
“We played fairly well,” Ray-Pec coach Paul Carvan said. “We could’ve escaped a couple of blow-up holes a little better. Certainly those are what you want to avoid on a day when you’re trying to post a number.”