Seymour’s Jackson goes back-to-back as sectional champ

BEDFORD — Lainey Jackson had never played in a playoff before.

When the Seymour senior and Bedford North Lawrence’s Chloe McFaddin finished on the 18th hole, their respective scorecards each read 80.

So Jackson and McFaddin had to go back to the first hole at Otis Park Golf Course to compete in a playoff.

“I was really nervous,” Jackson said. “I was shaking, and I’ve played with Chloe before, and she’s beaten me the previous two matches, once in conference and once during a week match. I just told myself I had to do good on this hole, and if I do that, I can win.”

Jackson and McFaddin were both on the green putting for par. McFaddin went first with a longer putt, and she missed hers to the right. All Jackson had to do was make her putt to become sectional champion for the second straight year.

She calmly approached her ball, gave it a tap with the putter and drilled it.

“I spent my time reading the green, and I made sure my line was correct,” she explained. “I trusted my line, I trusted my read and I just hit it, and it looked good from the start.”

Back-to-back years as individual sectional champion is still a shock to Jackson.

“It’s unreal,” she said. “It’s very hard to get back-to-back. To do that and have all the support around me, it feels great.”

She and her Seymour team will be advancing to the regional next week as the Owls placed second overall with a team score of 385. BNL won sectional with a score of 327, and Springs Valley was third with a 407.

“That feels nice,” Jackson said of advancing with her team. “The atmosphere of a team makes everything so much better. It’s nice knowing everyone has a chance to play.”

Brownstown Central was just shy of qualifying as a team, shooting a 409. But the Braves will still send two to regional.

Gracie Reynolds (96) and Emma Hughbanks (103) were in the top three of scores from golfers not on a qualifying team, along with Kenady Hudson of Eastern Greene, who shot a 93.

“Credit them on a warm day to play well enough to get out,” head coach Brandon Allman said. “I know both of them thought they could’ve played better, too.”

Hughbanks shot a 48 on the front nine before having a couple of holes not go her way on the back. Reynolds shot a 51 on the front before rolling to a 45 on the back.

“Emma played really well on the front nine, then she struggled a bit on the back, but it’s really awesome she was able to get out, especially in her senior year,” Allman said.

Megan VonDielingen shot a personal best for 18 holes with a steady 52-52-104. Jayda Clodfelder tied her best with a 53-59-112, and Abby Schroer, after shooting a 59 on the front nine, responded in a big way to shoot a 47 on the back and finish with a 106.

“A lot of perseverance,” Allman said. “It’s easy to get down on yourself when you’re not playing well. Megan shot her best. Jayda tied her best. It was huge for us.”

Both Reynolds and Hughbanks have played at Country Oaks Golf Club in Montgomery, where the regional will be played.

“You’re playing with house money,” Allman said. “There’s no expectations, just go down there, have fun and try to shoot as well as you can.”

As for the Owls, they will hope to keep playing well as a team.

Emily Windley and Katie Cottrill both shot personal bests for 18 holes on Saturday. Cottrill shot a 52-44-96, and Windley shot a 54-53-107.

Liza Stuckwisch shot a 55-47-102, and Emmy Followell shot a 65-64-129.

Before the playoff, Jackson was consistent throughout the day. She had 40s on both the front and back nines to finish with her 80.

“My drive was a little off,” Jackson said. “My irons were good, I made some putts that were crucial and I just read the course well.”

Jackson feels like this year as a senior has been her best year playing golf. She set new personal bests on nine holes and 18 holes throughout this fall.

“I feel like I’ve been really consistent, haven’t really gone up and down as much,” she said.

As far as this Saturday, Jackson hasn’t had a lot of luck when she has played at Country Oaks, but she’s hoping to turn that around.

Regional is expected to tee off at 8:30 a.m.

“I never do good there. I know it’s bad to say that, but it’s a difficult course, and it’s very narrow,” Jackson said. “I have to focus on hitting it straight, keeping it in the fairways and I’ll be fine.”