KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Our final FOX4 Hy-Vee Team of the Week for this school year dominates with distance.

Pembroke Hill’s boys golf team is one of the favorites to win another Missouri state championships this season, and a star who hits it far is playing a major role.

Chatter really gathers when the guys from Pembroke Hill starts ripping drivers. The Raiders seem to have the stuff, as well as impressive distance and accuracy off the tee, that took them to a MSHSAA Class 3 Championship in 2019. Pembroke’s golf program has reclassified with the state’s governing body, and now plays in Class 5.

“We’ve got some big hitters on this team.” David Burke, Pembroke’s seventh-year boys golf coach, said.

A strong group of Burke’s golfers stretch the fairways, using the “bomb and gouge” approach to place high in mid-season tournaments they’ve played in Missouri and Kansas. The Raiders have consistently placed in the top eight in crowded tournaments against the best teams from both sides of the metro.

“They work at it. They work out during the offseason and they work at it during the season,” Burke added. “Long off the tee as long as you’re in the fairway gives you a short iron into the green instead of a long one, and that’s a big advantage for us.”

Every good team needs a leader. That’s where Ryan Lee comes in. The Pembroke Hill senior won individual state titles as a freshman and as a junior. Steady play and tee balls carrying nearly 290 yards have been his benchmark, and another reason for this team to believe.

Last summer, Lee added the Kansas Junior Amateur Championship to his trophy case. Lee plans to study economics at the University of Chicago. He told FOX4 News he doesn’t plan to play college golf.

“I hope we can have a memorable state this year. I won state my freshman year, and I would really love to win it again as a team this year. It will take quite a bit of dedication and practice, but I truly believe we have the ability to win state again this year,” Lee said.

“I think over the next couple of weeks, we have to have a lot of hard work, good practices and just putting it all together to make a good championship run,” Josh Murphy, a Pembroke junior, said.

While the Raiders seek their 10th state championship in school history, Lee can make his own mark, as he seeks his third individual state championship. Pembroke Hill’s history includes a pair of two-time state kings — one of whom is five-time British Open Champion Tom Watson.

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