Hannibal golfers Connor Bogue, Gabe Falconer and Trevor Watson advanced Monday to the Class 3 championships.
Connor Bogue felt like he was on top of the world Monday after sinking his final putt at the Class 3 sectional at Links at Dardenne Golf Course in O'Fallon, Missouri.
The Hannibal senior barely missed the cut for the state tournament the past two seasons.
This time, Bogue was certain he broke through.
“When Connor walked up to the clubhouse, he was 73, 3-over, and he was so excited,” Hannibal coach Jason Noland said. “He had been so close, but to come in this year, as soon as he made the putt on 18, he knew he was good.”
Bogue was one of three Pirates to advance to the state finals, joining junior Gabe Falconer (76) and fellow senior Trevor Watson (78).
The trio will compete in the two-day, 36-hole Class 3 championships next Monday and Tuesday at Sedalia Country Club.
“It's great for them,” Noland said. “Trevor and Connor and Gabe, they all played pretty well. As long as we're moving on, that's the biggest thing. We want the opportunity to see what we can do against the best in the state next week, and we'll see how it goes.”
Hannibal posted a team score of 311, finishing 19 strokes behind Priory and St. Francis Borgia, which each came in at 292.
Only the top two teams qualified altogether.
Hannibal topped fourth-place MICDS (321) by 10 strokes one week after the Rams finished 20 strokes lower than the Pirates to win the Class 3 District 4 title.
“There's not a consolation prize for that, but you still have a little bit of validation with the team score,” Noland said. “We shot our best score as a team with a 311. We played well. It's just that Priory and St. Francis Borgia played amazing. They've been playing that way all year, and we knew it would take everything we had.”
Falconer, a junior who will compete at state for the first time, found redemption after coming up three strokes short of the cut in 2016.
“(Gabe) put it together right when he needed to and came out with a 76,” Noland said. “It's awfully tough for somebody under 76 not to make the cut. He played well all day.”
Watson, a now three-time state qualifier, survived and advanced with his score of 78. The senior tied with six others at 8-over with the highest score to make the cut.
Watson limited his struggles to two holes where he carded a combined score of 7-over. Over the rest of the course, he stabilized to shoot 1-over.
“Trevor sweated it out. He will be the first one to tell you he did not play to his standards, but he had to scratch and claw,” Noland said. “Sometimes, you've got to do that to move on.”
Preston Bennett (84) and Nathan Lewton (102) rounded out the Hannibal competitors.
Bennett's 84 was his second-lowest score of the year.
“I'm proud of Preston and Nathan and the wonderful seasons they've had,” Noland said.