Girls Golfers Continue To Improve With Match Vs. Marion

Posted on August 10, 2017 in Fall Sports, Girl's Golf

by Scott Hunt
The road to improvement led the girls golf teams from Marion and Oak Hill together on the hilly, tree-lined fairways of  Meshingomesia Golf and Social Club Wednesday evening, both still just getting their feet wet in competition.
The Giants and Golden Eagles christened their campaigns together last week in the Huntington North Invitational, but only had three golfers each record scores.
Each turned in five scores in the three-way match, Southwood only had two players, and the Giants came away with a 217-235 win. But wins and losses are secondary right now for new Marion coach Jerry Freshwater and Oak Hill’s Mike Tibbets.
Both men, along with Giants’ assistant Carl Guarneri, are simply trying to teach the game as well as sharpen the skills of girls who collectively have a limited amount of competitive experience, but are working really hard to improve.
All of them are excited with the attitude and effort being put forth by their players, and about the results they’re seeing early in the season.
“We’ve got a great group of girls that are taking everything in we’re saying. They’re absorbing it and its showing that they’re listening and coachable,” said Freshwater. “I’m really happy with where we are going and where these girls are headed.”
Much of the Giants recent practice time has been devoted to putting and short game shots, trying to save as many strokes around the greens as possible. It helped sophomore Olivia Mooney Wednesday to lead the Giants with a 49.
“I had some good shots and some not so good shots, so my putts saved me today,” said Mooney. “We’ve been working on putting and its really helping, Mr. Guarneri really helps with that.”
Freshwater said part of Guarneri’s lesson has been for the girls to focus on getting putts past the hole to give the ball a chance to go in it.  
“We’ve responded well from the beginning of the season to now, this is our third match,” Freshwater said. “You see the progress in our girls.”
Senior Jessica Mooney and junior Kasey Clark each shot 53 for Marion. Clark’s score was 10 shots better than her first round of the season Friday against Mississinewa and Madison-Grant. Senior Greer Decker added a 63 for the Giants. 
“We’ve been preaching stroke saving,” Guarneri said. “Try to save one a hole and a perfect example of that is Kasey Clark. We’ve worked extensively around the green and putting just to try and save strokes.”
Oak Hill was playing its first match season since the Huntington Invite, but for two of Tibbets’ players, juniors Bayli Toy and Korinne Perkins, it was the first competitive round of golf in their lives. Both are accomplished softball players for the Golden Eagles but really only picked up golf in July.  Tibbets was pleased with and proud of Toy’s 65 and Perkins’ 70.
“It’s a humbling sport and anybody that’s ever played the sport knows that,” he said. “They’re good athletes, they’ve got great hand-eye coordination and they’re sticking with it. I’m really impressed with them.
“The distance they’ve come since we started with open range in mid-July, they’ve been doing really well,” Tibbets added about Toy and Perkins. “This is their first nine hole match, Meshingomesia is tough course with lots of hills and contour and they’re not used to that. They handled it well and I’m really proud of them.”
Perkins and Toy both agreed it is  much easier to hit a softball than it is to hit a golf ball.
Golden Eagle freshman Hope Mygrant continued her solid season-opening play by leading Oak Hill with a 47, as did senior Brooke Law with a 53. Mygrant just started into competitive golf over  the summer and has carded Oak Hill’s low round in each of its first two matches. 
“I’m pretty pleased with my round. I know I can shoot better but I have to work up to that,” Mygrant said. “Keep on working on the short game like every golfer needs. I had a couple of scores that I’d like to take down but that will come with practice.”
Tibbets is excited  by the effort the Golden Eagles are putting into practices and he’s anxious to see what the rest of the season holds.
“All the girls are working hard. They’ve put in a lot of time beating balls and working on short game between matches,” Tibbets said. “We get them out to play some to just learn the game. We had to get the girls to move the ball consistently before we could get on the course.
“Now we’re getting there so now we can have some fun,” he continued. “I think they’ll see as we go out, they’re going to improve quickly. That’s what’s fun with beginners and people that haven’t been playing very long is they make great strides really quickly. It’s fun to watch and fun to be a part of.”
Southwood’s Katie Springer shot 45 to earn medalist honors while Chloe Kendall added 55 for the Knights only two scores.
The Giants travel to Kokomo Monday and return to Meshingomesia next Thursday to host Northfield. The Golden Eagles host Maconaquah on Tuesday at Arbor Trace. 

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