The Brownstown Central and Seymour girls golf teams went to Bedford on Saturday with the goal of finishing in the top three and advancing to this Saturday’s regional.
Despite posting scores a few strokes higher than they had hoped, both the Braves and Owls will compete in the Washington Regional this Saturday.
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The Braves, led by Payton Ault with a 49-48-97, finished second with a score of 425, and Seymour, sparked by a 45-52-97 from Lainey Jackson, finished third with a 434 in the sectional played at Otis Park.
The host Stars, led by tournament medalist Olivia Sanders with a 75, easily won the sectional with a score of 338. Springs Valley was fourth with a 438, Paoli shot 462, Eastern Greene 463 and Salem 511.
“I’m tickled that the girls get to advance and get to experience regional,” Braves coach Brandon Allman said. “I know they’re disappointed, and I’m a little disappointed. Our scores were definitely higher than what we wanted, but once again, the girls showed some perseverance in the fact that they really struggled early on and we got better as the day went on.”
Allman said his players could have easily folded on the back nine, especially where it gets hilly and they get tired.
“We were able to push through and shoot scores good enough to advance,” he said. “Once the course started drying out a little bit, that definitely helped us. We got a little more roll, and the girls had some shorter iron shots in, so that definitely helped.”
Ashlyn Fox was next for the Braves with a 52-52-104, Lexie Satterthwaite scored 53-58-111, Kelsey Ault carded a 55-58-113 and Hannah Hackman finished with 63-54-117.
Fox advanced to the regional individually the past two years. She was the only senior to play for the Braves on Saturday as her teammates were all juniors.
Ault said she prepared for the sectional by playing Otis Park several times during the summer. She said the 97 is her lowest score in a high school match at Otis Park.
“I play here a lot during the summer to get practice for the sectional,” she said. “This is my lowest here, so that was pretty good. My drives were pretty good. It was a good day for the team.”
This will be Brownstown’s first trip to the regional as a team since 2017. Allman said he had individuals advance the past two years.
“I just want our girls to go down there and be relaxed, not just be happy to be there, but we should be free-swinging,” he said. “We don’t have anything to lose. I want them to enjoy playing the game of golf at the regional.”
Seymour coach Jim Hoffman said the team was a little disappointed with its scores, but the Owls had some good things going on the front nine.
“We kind of fell a little flat on the back. We didn’t maintain. We were hoping to shoot 410 or lower,” he said.
Four of the five Owls shot lower scores on the front nine.
“They were keeping it in the fairways. The greens gave them a little bit of trouble and it intensified on the back. We just didn’t do very well putting on the back,” Hoffman said.
“We made some good up-and-downs on the front,” he said. “We had a little enthusiasm going, and then all of a sudden on the back, we had a couple bad holes. It’s contagious sometimes in golf. You have one, and it leads to two or three. We’ve just got to get on the mental side a little bit stronger. I think that’s the biggest thing, and if we can work that out in the next couple of years, they’re going to be real good.”
Hoffman is happy his team is advancing.
“We’re going on and it’s a good experience for the girls to get to go to the regional,” he said. “We have four sophomores and a senior. For the sophomores, it is a great experience going forward. I think we’ve got a good opportunity the next couple years, so hopefully, this will bode well for them and they’ll get a little taste for it.”
Phoebe Skidmore shot a 52-51-103, Liza Stuckwisch carded a 51-61-112, Rylee Ebler scored a 55-67-122 and Maddie Nay finished with a 63-64-127.
Jackson said the 97 at Otis Park is a good score for her.
“It’s a tough course, especially with it being cold this morning and really windy,” she said. “I felt like it was tough for everybody. This morning, with the dew, (the greens) were slower. I hit off the tee pretty well, and my putting was good, too.”
This is the second year in a row Jackson has advanced to the regional with her Owl teammates.
“The (regional) is a tough course, but I like it,” she said. “We’re going on, and we can do better in regional.”