Pirates’ Thomas finishes as district runner-up, will be joined at state tournament by freshman Locke

Hannibal golf

Hannibal freshman Kyle Locke, left, and junior Quinn Thomas qualified for the Class 4 boys state golf tournament after finishing in the top 17 individually Monday during the district tournament at the Golf Club of Wentzville. | Photo courtesy Hannibal golf program

WENTZVILLE, Mo. — Quinn Thomas said he struggled hitting his drive during Monday’s Class 4 District 2 tournament at the Golf Club of Wentzville.

Yet, it was the driver that turned everything around.

Opening his round on the par-4 10th hole, the Hannibal junior golfer bogey two of his first three holes as he hit 3-wood and 4-iron off the first two tees. On No. 13, a 475-yard par-5, Thomas pulled his driver and it carried him the rest of the way. He played the final 15 holes in 4-under, finishing at 2-under and the district runner-up.

“Once I got the driver in my hands, I got it going,” Thomas said.

Still, it was his short game that helped him score.

“My irons were pretty spot on,” Thomas said. “They got me close to getting a lot of birdies.”

It’s what is carrying him to the state tournament. Thomas, who won the Class 4 individual state championship, will tee it up at Sedalia Country Club on May 15-16. He’ll be joined by Hannibal freshman Kyle Locke, who tied for 17th at 7-over 78.

“I’m going to go work on my driving, and he’s going to go work on his irons,” Thomas said. “We’re just going to hit a lot of balls and play a lot of holes over the next week. We’re going to do the best we can to get ourselves primed up.”

Hannibal finished fifth as a team with a 325. Ladue Horton Watkins won the district title with a 305, while Fort Zumwalt South advanced by finishing second at 308.

“Fifth out of that district is pretty good,” Thomas said. “We’ll take it.”

Fort Zumwalt East’s Trey Rusthoven won medalist honors with a 6-under 65. MICDS’s Benjamin Gelven and Parkway North’s Shivom Korgaonkar also broke par, tying for third at 1-under 70.

Thomas said he was able to play his game without the pressure of being the defending state champ. He finished sixth at districts as a sophomore and tied for 23rd at the state tournament.

“Last year, I felt a lot more pressure,” Thomas said. “This year, I was in a lot more control of my game. You saw that today with a 69. Honestly, I really didn’t feel too much pressure. I knew (Locke) would, but he played good enough to get there.”

Other scores for the Pirates included Kaisen McAfee (89), Jack Parker (89) and Jackson Karr (94).

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