Girls’ golf swings into full gear, taking sectional title en route to state championship

The+girls+golf+team+poses+for+a+picture+at+the+conclusion+of+their+round%2C+holding+up+a+one+to+symbolize+their+first+place+finish+at+L.A.+Nickell+Golf+Course+on+Oct.+14.+Photo+by+Audrey+Snyder.

The girls’ golf team poses for a picture at the conclusion of their round, holding up a one to symbolize their first place finish at L.A. Nickell Golf Course on Oct. 14. Photo by Audrey Snyder.

Maddie Orr

With a chilly breeze and 40 degree temperatures in the early morning, the girls’ golf team took home a sectional title Oct. 14 with a score of 327, winning by 15 strokes over second place Francis Howell at L.A. Nickell Golf Course, a course that never before hosted a postseason girls golf event. 

All five Bruin golfers were in the top 13 of the 50 individuals at the event, and the victory punched the Bruins’ ticket to the state championship Oct. 21-22 at Silo Ridge Country Club in Bolivar, Mo.

The location of the sectional tournament was especially fortunate for the team as L.A. Nickell was the team’s home course; this gave the Bruins a unique advantage as they dominated the six other competing teams. Senior Caroline Schade shot 11-over par for a score of 81 that landed her a seventh place finish. She said she is “extremely excited” for the next step: a run for the state title.

“I feel pretty good about my round today. I shot a 37 on the front [nine], so I was feeling really confident going into the rest of the round,” Schade said. “Although I didn’t do as well on the back [nine], I’m still proud of myself and my teammates for staying focused and not letting a bad hole affect us.”

Junior Emilia Feltner, one of two juniors on the varsity squad, said the golf course was “in pretty good condition” and it was “a good day to play golf.” At the beginning, the cold air and wet ground affected ball flights and distances. Once the sun began shining on the golfers, however, layers were stripped and a more comfortable atmosphere emerged. Despite the rough weather to start the round, the Bruins each expressed their satisfaction with the weather and conditions for the majority of their rounds.

“Surprisingly, the course was in beautiful shape today, I thought,” Schade said. “The greens were rolling at a nice speed, and the fairways were perfect.”

RBHS girls’ golf coach and host of the sectional tournament, Melissa Coil, enters the final scores for each team and individual at the end of the tournament on the official scoreboard. Photo by Audrey Snyder.

Feltner fired a 14-over par score of 84, which secured an eleventh place finish overall. Each of the girls emerged from their rounds analyzing the room for improvement, a constant commonality after every tournament no matter the score. Schade said she needs to focus more on her irons and her approach shots even though her “short game was spot on today.”

“I felt pretty good about today. I had some really good putts and chips,” Feltner said. “I need to improve my tee shots because my drives that are not getting in the fairway are affecting my scores.”

Melissa Coil, head coach of the girls’ golf team, hosted and managed the tournament, but still found time to watch and support all five girls throughout the six hour round. She believes her varsity did well and said that, as a team, there are “some great moments to celebrate.”

“I think we maintained a strong mental game despite what our overall or hole by hole scores may have been,” Coil said. “Playing on your home course can lead to some advantages, but can also be more difficult because there is an expectation on where the ball should be each hole. I think we handled the pressure of that and finished just where we needed to be.”

Both Schade and Feltner are looking forward to the week to come. Although both are sad to see the season come to a close, they said they are eager to compete at state and “finish out strong.”

“I am just excited to end the season with some of my best friends,” Feltner said. “There are five seniors [on the team] and I am really good friends with them. I’m sad that this will be my last season with them, but, at the same time, I am so grateful.”

Looking forward in preparation, Coil said she is going to help perfect the parts of the girls’ games that the state course will be testing, such as keeping the ball in the fairway and honing in on course management. The days leading up to Monday and Tuesday are also a time to rest and recover as well as releasing expectations for the future, she said.

“Heading to state is a big deal. It’s always a great time with the girls on the ride there to the hotel and then home again,” Coil said. “I’m looking for us to have fun together as a team, and finish as high as a team as we can. I certainly believe we have a major chance at some hardware.”

The team has one week left of the season and another chance at a state title, something they don’t take lightly. As the season winds down and temperatures continue to drop, there is still work left to be done for the Bruins.

“Wrapping up the season will be very difficult for me, since it will be the end of something so big in my life. I’ve been playing golf since I was eight years old alongside some of the same girls I’m playing with my senior year so it will be very sad to leave behind my golf family,” Schade said. “But, I am extremely excited to take on state with some of my best friends and give it our all. Our team is full of talent, love and hard work and I can’t wait to see what happens.”

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