Patriot girls golf returns quality

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Junior Kylie Fahnestock is one of two regional returners for Heritage Hills girls golf this year, along with senior Grace Mangan.


SANTA CLAUS — Heritage Hills girls golf got back to it Friday morning at Christmas Lake Golf Course for its official practice of the year, with the team starting off by getting some putts in. And the Patriots are already ahead of the curve in some ways from last year.

The Pats began their 2020 campaign without fielding a full team, but enough golfers eventually joined that they took care of that.

There is some subtraction from last year’s team, as Sarah Mangan and Lilly Kolley both graduated. Meanwhile, senior Abi Wilson, who joined the team last year, is going back to playing soccer this year.

However, the 2021 team will have at least five golfers in senior Grace Mangan, juniors Kylie Fahnestock and Michelle Darling, sophomore Shelby Ford and freshman Chloe Coleman. They might eventually have another in junior Rylee Koening.

Heritage Hills is also top-heavy going into the year, as Grace qualified for regionals as an individual for the second straight year in 2020, and Fahnestock joined her there.

“I’m looking forward to having them back,” Pats coach Dave Jochim said of Grace and Fahnestock. “Then I have a couple other kids like Chloe, who’s a freshman, I think will be an added addition.”

Jochim told The Herald that the keys for Grace and Fahnestock to return to regionals this year will be having confidence in themselves and working on their short game.

“Driving is a big part with Grace and Kylie,” he said. “If they get off the tee, they usually do pretty decent. I’m trying to get Grace to hit her driver a little more. That will help her with distance and that will help her with hitting more greens and regulations.”

He knows that Grace and Fahnestock will have to play well in order for the Pats to have a chance of advancing to regionals as a team this year — and also of performing well at the Sept. 4 Pocket Athletic Conference match.

Heritage Hills shot a team score of 426 at the 2020 sectional — good for fourth place, but just one spot shy of advancing as a team. Jochim said they’ll have to improve upon what they did last year.

The Pats are set to open the season Wednesday at Boonville Country Club against the Pocket Athletic Conference rival Pioneers.

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