Cats, Raiders advance golfers to regionalSeptember 16, 2018
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
JASPER — When Southridge sophomore Baileigh Schneider heard her name called immediately after the conclusion of Saturday’s IHSAA girls golf sectional at Buffalo Trace Golf Course in Jasper, she had a feeling what the announcement was going to be — a tiebreaking playoff was going to be taking place.
Schneider was tied with South Spencer’s Makayla Murphy for the overall match medalist as both finished with an 18-hole score of 83, which meant they would have to play an extra hole of golf until someone came away a winner. Murphy, a senior, had been in similar positions before, but Schneider? Well, the Raider sophomore was entering her first-ever playoff scenario in her young career.
“When they called my name, I was freaking out. I was shaking and I didn’t really know what to do. I told myself that I had played good all day, so I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing,” said Schneider, who was defeated by Murphy in the playoff by one stroke on the second playoff hole. “Those nerves stayed with me through every shot and I tried to deal with them, but it was a little hard.”
There was still some good news for Schneider, however, as she was one of three individual qualifiers for next weekend’s regional tournament at Country Oaks Golf Course in Montgomery, along with Boonville’s Brooke Allen (90) and Crawford County’s Bailey Gilmore (97). The Gibson Southern squad was the overall team champion with a team score of 390, while Jasper (394) and South Spencer (404) also advanced to the regional by finishing second and third. Southridge placed fifth overall as a team with a score of 428. Forest Park was seventh with a 462 and Heritage Hills placed 10th with a 537.
Even though they’ll be advancing to next week’s regional, there was still a sense of disappointment around the Jasper golf team as its streak of two straight sectional championships was ended by the Titans. Jasper head coach Jan Tellstrom said it was a “slugfest,” with all 10 teams dealing with the same factors, such as bad spots and hot weather that caused a few higher scores than usual.
“It was just a matter of survival,” Tellstrom said. “They were trying to survive the heat, errant golf shots and bad lies because there were some tough lies. All in all, they really didn’t do that bad.”
Senior Haley Schroeder led the Wildcats with a score of 86 (the third highest overall score among all participants), with Isabella Olinger (102), Elizabeth Ackerman (103), Madeline Springer (103) and Brynn Leinenbach (104) rounding out the scoring for Jasper.
Even with a score of 86, Schroeder believed she could have performed a little better, but thought nerves, along with the increase of temperatures, played a factor in Saturday’s play.
“I felt like I was definitely kind of off because it was my senior year and I knew it was going to be my last time playing in sectional, so it was a bit different,” Schroeder said. “I was trying to remain calm, because if this was going to be one of my last rounds, I wanted it to be a good one.”
After qualifying for regional last year for the first time since 2010 with its third-place finish at the sectional, the Southridge girls golf team took a step back with a fifth-place finish.
Schneider placed second overall with an 83 and qualified for regional, but everyone else on the Raiders squad finished with a score over 100 — Macie Marley (104), Meredith Heim (114), Peyton Nalley (127) and Isabel Morrison (139).
Raider head coach Tom Collins thought Southridge started off playing incredibly well, but the back nine of Buffalo Trace, which has been known to give golfers of all experience levels fits, started to take its toll on the girls.
“After the first nine, I told them that we’re in the hunt for the whole thing, but then we made the turn and you know how the back [nine] can be,” Collins said. “You could kind of tell the tide had turned a bit. All around, all five of our golfers had a hard time and couldn’t get it done today, and that’s how golf is sometimes.”
Schneider felt pleased with her overall performance on Saturday, especially on the front nine, where she hit back-to-back birdies and also drove the ball well on the green. Now, her focus is on the regional where she has one goal in mind — qualify for the state finals. What does she need to do to accomplish her goal?
“I just have to hit the ball straight, make putts when needed and just try to keep it on the fairway,” Schneider said. “We’ll see how it goes”
The Forest Park golf team placed seventh overall with a score of 462, with Ella Borden (108) and Grace Wendholt (113) firing off season-best rounds. Makayla McKim (120) and Audrey Jones (121) rounded out scores for Forest Park, while Maya Jones had to withdraw due to sickness.
Ranger head coach Pat Schuler was pleased with the Rangers' performance at Saturday’s sectional and was very impressed with the season-best performances by Borden and Wendholt, who are both freshman. Schuler was excited about the growth the two showed as the year went on, and is excited to see what the future holds for them.
“That’s the future of Forest Park,” Schuler said. “You’re looking at girls who are probably going to be the leaders of this team going forward, and I think they will help to bring others along. I think they’re going to excel as we move forward.”
The Heritage Hills Patriots rounded out the scoring with a score of 537 in 10th place. Jayden Reyes led the way with a 127, Taylor Klem was second with a 131 and Nadia Rodrigues (138), Katelyn Davis (141) and Selena Barrientos (142) rounded out the scoring for the Pats.
Patriot head coach Dave Jochim was impressed with the improvement the Patriots showed throughout the season, and is excited to see how they can carry the gains they made over into next season.
“Oh, leaps and bounds,” Jochim said, talking about the Pats' improvements. “I mean, from the first day of practice until the end of the season, they’ve just gotten an understanding of little things like chipping and putting. If they put in work over the summer, I’m looking to see even more improvement.”
Reyes, who led the Pats with a 127, added: “I’ve definitely improved. My first year I was having to pick up [shots] a lot, but now I’ve lowered my score and I’ve put in a lot of hard work. I’m going to continue to do that in the offseason.”
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