Schneider to end prep career at stateOctober 1, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
HUNTINGBURG — Southridge girls golf coach Tom Collins got choked up when speaking to the Herald on Tuesday.
Collins considers himself fortunate to have coached senior Baileigh Schneider, who broke through Sept. 26 to advance to state after shooting a 75 in the regional at Country Oaks Golf Course.
Friday and Saturday’s state match at Prairie View Golf Club is Schneider’s high school finale. She’s had Collins as coach all four years, and the two have known each other even before that.
“I first met Baileigh as a sixth grader when she walked into Southridge Middle School,” Collins said. “I started hearing things and I wasn’t even golf coach then, but I thought, ‘Wow, she’s going to be awesome in high school,’ and then when I took over when she was an eighth grader, I was like, ‘Wow.’
“She went out and practiced with us when she was an eighth grader — she practiced with the high school team,” he continued. “We were like, ‘Man, she could be our number one right now as an eighth grader.’”
Collins remembers chomping at the bit, being excited to have Schneider on his team. Schneider laughed when he called her his project for four years, but two sectional medals, four regional appearances and a state appearance later, here’s the finished product.
Schneider had long held the goal of making it to state. She tried not to think about it while playing the course, but she knew she had a chance. Her 75 score garnered her fourth place overall, and highest score among golfers advancing to state as individuals.
Schneider and her Southridge teammates received the fire truck treatment through Huntingburg after her regional triumph.
“It was awesome,” Schneider said. “This community is so supportive towards all sports at Southridge. They’re super supportive when you make your goal or your team makes a goal. They are always there to congratulate you and tell people about your accomplishments, so they’re very supportive. Our little town’s just like a big family. So, it feels really nice to have that behind me.”
Her 75 regional score was lower than the 82 she shot at the Sept. 19 sectional at Buffalo Trace Golf Course. Schneider credits the putts she made during the regional that kept her score low, compared to sectional — where she made some putts, but putting wasn’t her strong suit.
“It was like everything came together,” she said. “Everything just was working — my tee shots, my second shots in, my putting, it was all fit together. So, that’s how I shot what I shot.”
Collins was “thrilled to death” that Schneider shot a 75, but said she played better than that. He told of putting the reins on Schneider in the stretch — not wanting to take any chances with her.
“I think if she really would’ve kept the pedal to the metal, I think she would’ve shot in the low-seventies,” he said.
Schneider has spent the week working on her putting and tee shots. She feels she’ll have a good hole if she has a good tee shot. Schneider has never been to Prairie View, but Collins said she feels as if she has a weight lifted off her shoulder. Collins noted the course has a lot of sand traps, but Schneider is a really good sand player.
Collins asked her what her goal is for state, and Schneider told her she wants to get in the top 30. He said that’s a very realistic goal, but he thinks she’ll do even better than that. Collins looked at regional scores around the state, and Schneider’s was one of the best.
“I’m really proud of her,” Collins said. “I’ll be coaching a few more years until I retire. Baileigh will be a girl that will be talked about for high school golf here at Southridge for years.”
Schneider has been golfing since she was younger, and it will be hard for her that it’s her last time golfing at the prep level. However, she knows bigger and better things are ahead after today and Saturday, and she knows she’ll end on a good note.
“I’m going to miss this team,” Schneider said. “I’m going to miss Coach, I’m going to miss the girls, but I know that this was an awesome time.”
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