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John Burroughs senior Ann Zhang wants to set the record straight.

Yes, the defending state golf champion Bombers are happy with their third-place effort during the opening round of the Class 1 state tournament on Monday at Freemont Hills Country Club in downtown Nixa.

"It definitely sounds like a good accomplishment to us," Zhang said.

Burroughs lost three key players from last year's title team, which claimed the school's second girls golf championship.

Zhang and senior Claire Pan are the only two regulars back from that talent-rich squad.

"I don't think people realize that it's those two and the rest were (junior varsity) players last year," Burroughs coach Tim Begley said. "Third is fine for now. But we still have some work to do tomorrow."

Burroughs posted a four-player score of 392, which puts it 23 strokes behind second-place Father Tolton (369).

Springfield Catholic, the heavy favorite to unseat Burroughs, recorded a 320 and carries a safe 49-shot lead into the final round of the two-day, 36-hole affair.

Begley was pleased with the performance of his group, although he said, "the girls left some strokes out there that they wished they hadn't."

"We're proud of what we've done," said Pan, who finished in a tie for fourth at last year's event. "It's not as much the place we finish, but how we feel we're going as a team. We did fine — but we know we can do better too."

Pan led the charge on Monday with a 13-over-par 84, good enough to sit in a tie for sixth place. Zhang carded an 87 and sits in 10th. Teresa Jiang (99) and Emma Kovalic (122) rounded out the scoring.

The Bombers were simply happy to get back to state after the graduation losses of Lucy Bloomstran, Ingrid Keane and Margaux Ballet.

A top three finish would be icing on the cake although Pan would like her team to place ahead of Father Tolton, which edged the Bombers 360-365 for the sectional crown on Oct 14.

"I didn't think I did as well as I should have at sectionals," Pan said of her sixth-place finish. "If I did better, we would have won. Now, we've got another chance."

MICDS senior Parker Perry shot an 84 to tie Pan for sixth place. Perry finished third last season in helping the Rams to a third-place team finish. MICDS did not qualify for state this year as a team, breaking a string of six successive state appearances.

A strong wind bothered the golfers throughout the day and led to higher than usual scores.

"Just calculating the right club to hit was hard," Perry said. "I think that I could have done better."

Perry, who had a birdie on the back nine, is looking forward to the second round.

"I learned from everything that I went through today and I'm really excited to go back there and be better tomorrow."

MICDS sophomore Katie Mikulec carded a 92. She is tied for 18th.

Visitation senior Emma Buell is tied with Zhang for 10th. Visitation sophomore Lucy Trover (91) is in 16th and also has a shot at a medal, which is awarded to the top 15 golfers.

Springfield Catholic senior Kayla Pfitzner, the defending state champion, leads the 90-player field with a 2-over 73 — five shots ahead of her sister Kyleigh, a sophomore, and Kassidy Hull of Eldon. Reagan Zibilski, also of Springfield Catholic, is fourth with a 79, giving the Irish three of the top four spots. 

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