By Todd Lancaster
---- — MONTGOMERY — The Washington Lady Hatchet golf team may not have found its way to the State Finals on Saturday, but they have a much better understanding of what road to take to get there.
Washington posted a 384 as a team to finish 14th in an 18-team field, but with a team that returns all four members next season, they had played some of there best golf over the last month.
“It was very important that we played well at sectional. I think that’s when the girls started to believe in themselves,” said WHS coach Morris Petty. “We were hoping for a little better today at regional, but they are all underclassman. I think they really have a shot next year.”
Under nearly perfect conditions at Country Oaks in Montgomery, Washington played well on its first nine (the back nine), with junior Natalya Meinhart shooting a 42, sophomore Haven Lunsford posting a 44 and freshman Alayna Purcell shooting a career-low 47.
However things got tougher on the front side (the second nine), as Meinhart shot 47 to post an 89, Lunsford shot 48 to end with a 92 and Purcell shot 55 to shoot 102. One player who bucked the second-nine jinx was junior Cheyenne Jones, who shaved nine strokes off her first nine score after finishing with a 46 for a 102.
“Natalya has some trouble on the last couple of holes, but I think she will have a real shot (at moving on). She works so hard. A lot of these girls have a real future with this sport,” added Petty.
Meinhart said she was ready to start practicing as soon as the event was over.
“I really thought if I could get in the high 70s I would have a chance. The competition was really good, but I wasn’t really nervous because I have played with most of those girls before through Mountain Dew (junior golf),” Meinhart added. “We will be ready next year.”
The event was won by Martinsville, who shot a combined 317, followed by Evansville North with a 320 and Floyd Central with a 328. Area schools Jasper and Vincennes Rivet were part of a three-way tie for fourth, shooting a 331. Vincennes Lincoln all participated and finished in 17th with a 403.
The overall winner was Bloomington South’s Cherise Otter with a 73, after beating Claire Cameron of Martinsville in a playoff. Elizabeth Orr of Springs Valley was third with a 74 and Paxton DeHaven of Seymour was fourth with a 75. Jasper’s Annie Geitzen was fifth with a 76. Also advancing was Vincennes Rivet’s Peyton Meeks with a 77, while teammate Carly Waggoner missed the to go back to state by one stroke with a 78.
Teams and Individuals will now move on to the Finals at the Legends in Franklin to play 36 holes across Friday and Saturday.