Dustin Blackburn’s goal was to simply make the state golf tournament.
He did much more.
With a strong 8-over par 80 in Tuesday’s second round, Blackburn had a two-day total of 165 to finish tied for 25th at the Missouri State High School Athletic Association’s Class 2 tournament.
Only four other underclassmen finished with lower scores than Blackburn at the Silo Ridge Golf and Country Club in Boliver. Blackburn also had the second-highest finish in the SCA behind Mountain View Liberty senior Punkie Stevenson, who tied for 14th place. Mountain Grove’s Justin Brown tied for 36th.
Ash Grove won the Class 2 team championship by nine strokes over Dixon.
Houston coach Brent Kell said once Blackburn qualified for state, he hoped Blackburn would finish in the top half of the 120 golfers that qualified for the tournament.
“He surpassed all our expectations,” Kell said. “He put in the time and the effort, and all his hard work paid off. I’m really happy for him.”
Blackburn sat in the mid 40s after shooting an 85 in Monday’s opening round on the 6,536-yard, par 72 course. But he made his move up the leaderboard on Day 2.
After playing the first two holes at even par, Blackburn returned from a 1 hour, 15 minute rain delay even stronger. He was at 1-over through 13 holes – one of the lowest totals of the final round -when heavier rains began. Blackburn played the final five holes at 7-over.
Kell said Blackburn was admittedly nervous when the tournament began. His play hardly showed it.
“He said, ‘I was so nervous on the first tee that I thought I was having a seizure. I had to back off the ball twice and regain my composure,'” Kell said. “He said he didn’t know how he hit it because his hands were shaking so bad.
“I told him it was good because it meant he cared.”