Cats seek enjoyment, opportunities at regionalSeptember 19, 2018
By JONATHAN SAXON
After outlasting the heat and other players at Buffalo Trace Golf Course last Saturday during the sectional match, the Jasper Wildcats are getting themselves ready and focused for the next step in their postseason journey: the regional round.
Jasper will be led by seniors Haley Schroeder, Brynn Leinenbach and Madeline Springer. Each girl has been working their golf bag and sharpening their games in anticipation of this round of play, and they all want to maximize the opportunity to finish their senior season on the highest note that they can.
“As a team we’re all going to go out there and try our hardest and just make the most of it,” Schroeder said. “As seniors we just want to have fun. We don’t want to remember our last round for Jasper High School as sad, but that we were having fun and we enjoyed it.”
“It’s going to be a difficult match for sure on Saturday,” Leinenbach added. “We’re going to go in with open minds and we know Country Oaks very well.”
The team is also looking for a bit of redemption after their performance in the sectional round. They scored well enough, finishing second overall with a score of 394 (Gibson Southern took the sectional title with 390), but they missed out on a chance to claim three straight sectional titles.
The team chalked up the match as a result of unseasonably hot weather that was present during the round, but they are looking to use the fact that they survived that test of attrition to boost their confidence going into Montgomery.
“We kept it together mentally, and at the end of the day that’s all you can really do,” Schroeder said. “It was a rough day for some of us, you can’t always have a good in golf. I think we did good on a mental aspect where we kept it together and none of us broke down.”
To that end, the team has been traveling to Country Oaks to get in some practice rounds and familiarize itself with the course before the Wildcats have to mark down strokes on the scorecards.
All the golfers seem to enjoy playing there, because it is a relatively flat course, which is a change of pace from the hills of their home course. Based on the preparation they have put in, they feel good about being able to handle what the course throws at them.
“Personally it’s one of my favorite courses, I tend to do pretty well there,” Leinenbach said. “There’s not too many difficult holes that we have to work hard at.”
“[We] seniors have played the course many times now,” Springer added. “That helps, knowing where the holes are, knowing where you’re going to hit your next shot if you hit the ball at a certain spot. That’s very beneficial.”
As for the technical details of what they need to win, they are all on the same page. They have to know that all the set up shots may not go quite as they planned them, but they can always gain ground once the ball reaches the green.
“Most of the golf game usually comes down to putting,” Schroeder said. “Putting is usually what makes or breaks a golfer’s game. You can be playing bad, but as long as you’re putting good, you can have a wonderful round. If we do well on putting, we’ll definitely do well at regional”.
“To put up good scores we need to focus on our short game,” Leinenbach added. “Short game always helps. If you can limit it to one putt or chip, you get a good score.”
Everyone is getting ready and they all know their roles they need to fill in order make it to the next round.
But even though it’s a serious competition come Saturday, the team does not want to miss the big picture in coming out and playing the game — have some fun on the course.
“For Saturday we’re just looking to go out and have fun,” Leinenbach said.
“I’m hoping we can all have our best rounds,” Springer added. “Zone in, focus in and make it count.”
Southridge sophomore Baileigh Schneider was the lone local individual qualifier into Saturday’s regional after she shot an 83 in Saturday’s sectional match at Buffalo Trace to take home the top individual qualifying position after the Raiders failed to advance as a team.
Last year, Schneider shot an 89 at the regional as a freshman, but this year she’s hoping for a little better score than that because her eyes are on a state finals berth.
Schneider told her coach, Tom Collins, at the beginning of the season about her goal, and now she’s one match away from reaching it.
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