By Dylan Wallace | The Tribune
Brownstown and Seymour both advanced to regionals on Saturday in girls golf as the Braves and Owls placed second and third, respectively.
Brownstown had a team score of 404 while Seymour shot a 407, and both teams were behind Bedford North Lawrence, who hosted the event at Otis Park, as the Stars shot a 359.
But the sectional medalist wasn’t from the first-place Stars. That individual accolade went to Seymour’s Lainey Jackson, who shot a 42-42-84 on Saturday.
Jackson was five strokes ahead of the second-place finishers.
“She’s been working really, really hard,” Hoffman said. “She’s been working on her drives, her putting. Yesterday, she did everything good.”
Hoffman said he thought the course played hard as well, but Jackson did well to overcome that.
“She stayed out of trouble, and that’s the big key over there,” Hoffman said. “She stayed away from the big scores. She understood that she was gonna make a bogey or two here or there, and if she could just keep the double bogeys off the card she was gonna shoot a good round, and that’s what she did.”
With Jackson winning the sectional title, it gave Seymour both the boys and girls individual sectional medals in the 2021 calendar year. Owen Marshall won it this past spring for the boys.
Hoffman knew it was a rarity for Seymour golfers to win that in the same year.
“It’s very exciting to see those two kids like that work so hard and see the rewards,” Hoffman said. “As a coach, it’s rewarding for me to see both of them. That’s pretty exciting.”
Rounding out the Owls third-place finish at the sectional was Liza Stuckwisch with a 52-50-102, Phoebe Skidmore 57-49-106, Katie Cottrill 57-58-115 and Emily Windley 64-64-128.
Hoffman said Stuckwisch has continued to improve and that this was Windley’s best 18-hole score in her young career so far.
As for the Braves, who edged Seymour by three strokes to finish second overall, they were led by Payton Ault.
Ault shot a 47-42-89 and finished tied for second with Bedford’s Kenley Craig and Samantha Biel.
“Payton showed some major mental toughness and ability to recover after some adversity. She was eight-over on two holes and only nine-over on the other sixteen. Her day did not start the way she envisioned,” head coach Brandon Allman said. “Outside a couple of tee shots, she drove the ball exceptionally well and was able to get up and down several times when she was in trouble. Her attitude was positive throughout the entire round.”
Rounding out Brownstown’s runner-up finish was Hannah Hackman with a 52-51-103, Gracie Reynolds 56-49-105, Lexie Satterthwaite 52-55-107 and Emma Hughbanks 60-55-115.
Allman said he was overall pleased with his team’s round. They shot 21 strokes better than from the sectional one year ago. Ault improved by 8 shots from last year, Satterthwaite by 4 shots, Hackman by 14 shots, and Hughbanks and Reynolds competed in their first sectionals.
Reynolds has come on strong toward the end of the season, and Saturday was her first 18-hole tournament ever.
“I can’t say enough about Gracie Reynolds and her work ethic. She has fallen in love with the game and just wants to get better. She takes everything I say and tries to apply it to make herself better,” Allman said. “I have had the utmost confidence in her and have told her since the beginning of the season that she was going to break 50 and have a chance to play in sectional; I am not for sure she honestly believed me at times. She just shows what hard work and belief can do; she just shot 105 on a difficult golf course and has only been playing golf for around six weeks.”
The opportunity to advance to the state finals is on the line this Saturday as Brownstown and Seymour compete in the Barr-Reeve Regional. Tee times have yet to be announced for Saturday.