Kite keeps flying high

Reese Kite

A young Waterloo golfer is continuing her upward climb in the sport by consistently shooting low. 

Reese Kite, a junior-to-be at Waterloo High School, recently qualified for the Junior PGA Championships set for Aug. 1-4 at Hot Springs Country Club in Hot Springs, Ark.

A total of 160 young women participate over four rounds at this PGA event. There is a cut after two days and another cut after day three. 

Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie are among the golfing legends to have won this tournament, which is regarded as one of junior golf’s majors.

There are two ways to qualify for the Junior PGA Championships in the St. Louis area. One is a two-day qualifying event, which Kite placed third at. Since only the top spot is taken from that event, she did not earn qualification.

The other way to qualify is through a season-long points tally known as the “Race to the Junior PGA,” which Kite won. 

With one other tournament in this series yet to be played last week, Kite had already clinched her qualification for Hot Springs. That is due to her strong showings in the previous four events.

She clinched the “race” at Annbriar Golf Course in Waterloo last week, winning the two-day tournament by shooting 18-hole scores of 75 both days.

In fact, she won two of the previous four “race” events.

Kite entered the summer following a strong sophomore season with the WHS girls golf squad. 

She was an individual regional champion after shooting 69 for the Bulldogs this past fall, and ultimately capped off her school season with a 10th place finish in the IHSA state meet at Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur.

Kite also qualified for state as a freshman and will look to lead the WHS girls golf squad this upcoming fall.

Prior to high school, Kite won the Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association Girls State Golf Tournament at Rend Lake Golf Course in 2021, shooting a 71 to become the state champion by nine strokes.

Some more recent highlights for Kite include finishing just two shots shy of qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Amateur in Lawrence, Kan., earlier this summer. She shot an even par 72 against a field of college players from the University of Oklahoma, Stanford University, University of Kansas, University of Missouri and elsewhere.

Kite shot a three-over-par 75 at the U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier in Chicago, where she won a three-way playoff to earn a spot as an alternate.

Kite won the Notah Begay III qualifier in Springfield, shooting a two-under-par 70.

She also won a two-day Prep Tour event at the University of Illinois recently, shooting a 79 and 71.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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