Jasper JV gets Christmas Lake winAugust 16, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
SANTA CLAUS - Coach Josh Dahmer is really liking the depth that Jasper girls golf has, and that depth has been on display as of late.
The Wildcats gave their varsity team Monday off at Christmas Lake Golf Course in a match with Forest Park, Heritage Hills and a couple of individual golfers from Springs Valley. So, the JV squad stepped in and rolled to a team score of 198 - besting the 226 Heritage Hills shot and the 232 from Forest Park. This came off of the heels of the fourth-place varsity took Saturday at the Columbus East Invitational, while JV grabbed fifth out of 15 teams.
"We've really had a lot of girls working hard - I mean, from top to bottom, all 11 of them practice hard every day," Dahmer said. "We've got wonderful assistant coaches that help out, they've been a tremendous help.
"The girls have great at listening and learning and trying things that we suggest and change with their swing or their thought process," Dahmer added. "So, (I'm) really excited that they're all kind of jumping on board - and all of them seem to be enjoying themselves and learning how to play the game of golf."
Dahmer said he brought his JV team instead of varsity because of how long Saturday's match was. While the JV golfers also competed on Saturday, the first-year coach said his JV players needed the experience and he wanted to give them more playing time. He also wanted his varsity players to get some rest ahead of Thursday's match at home against Evansville Memorial, and also the Aug. 21 Wildcat Invitational.
Some of Jasper's underclassmen led the way when freshman Kristin Roos medaled with a 46, while sophomore Maddy Gaug tied for second place by shooing a 47.
"They've been really practicing on their irons and their short game," Dahmer said of Roos and Gaug. "I think everybody would agree that their short game can always get better - they're still two-putting and three-putting. I think when they're able to put it all together, their scores can go even lower."
Gaug tied with Heritage Hills junior Kylie Fahnestock for second place. Fahnestock finished the day by shooting a four on the final hole, but some higher scores on some middle holes left her just shy of a medal.
Patriots coach Dave Jochim thought Fahnestock ran into some trouble around the green.
"She got sand trapped and took her three to get out of number five," Jochim said. "So, she had to pick up on par three. If she chips and putts and gets out of the sandtrap in one, she's the medalist easily."
The Pats have been top-heavy this season with Fahnestock and senior Grace Mangan, who shot a 49. However, they've been trying to catch some of their other players to speed in junior Michelle Darling, sophomore Shelby Ford and freshman Chloe Coleman. Jochim believes those three are coming along nicely.
"Michelle never touched a club until first day of practice - and she's finally starting to hit the ball better," he said. "But the other two, Chloe and Shelby, they're getting there, they're hitting good shots."
Jochim likes the way his team has been coming along, as the Pats didn't have a full team until after last year's season began. Forest Park didn't have a full team at all last year, and with a couple of weeks into the season, having a team is exceeding the expectations of Rangers coach Nick Grothouse.
"My juniors (Grace Haas and Kaitlyn Seffernick) are playing better than they were last year," Grothouse said. "My new sophomore (Brooke Rasche) is doing great. I've been thrilled with the progress she's made. If we can just get one or two strokes per girl off of each round, we're in contention every time."
Grothouse lauded Haas for being consistent in her most recent rounds, and while her putting at the hole still needs work, he's pleased she's getting the ball there.
The second-year coach noted that Seffernick has some holes better than she has others, but she gets good shots off to put together good rounds. Grothouse likes Rasche's power, and she thinks she'll be a really good golfer once she works on her finesse around the greens.
Both Heritage Hills and Forest Park are expected to be back in action Tuesday. The Rangers are set to take on Tell City at Christmas Lake, and Wednesday at Tecumseh.
"We've got to stay out of the sand, number one, that's every girl - got to stay out of the sand," Grothouse said. "Number two, if we have a putt that's less than three feet, we have to make it, we have to make them. Because we are giving up so many easy strokes within three feet of the cup, and that's hurting us."
Heritage Hills is also set to be home in a Pocket Athletic Conference triangular against Southridge and Pike Central.
Jochim feels mental toughness will key in this match.
"Once you hit a good shot, repeat that good shot - get around the green and do your scoring around the green," Jochim said. "The girls had all kinds of opportunities. They're getting to the green, even (Darling, Ford and Coleman), they're getting to the green, they're just not scoring. And that's what it going to take, it's just going to take practice."
The Wildcats, meanwhile, will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before their match Thursday with the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference rival Tigers.
"We have to work on short game," Dahmer said. "Saturday, I think our scores could've been a lot lower. We were two shots out of third place, and actually only about 12 shots out of second place, and I think short game was the difference."
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