The girls golf season began on Wednesday as two of the three area teams teed off at Prides’ Creek to start 2019 followed up with a match at Country Oaks Thursday.
The Washington Lady Hatchets will start the year with three returning players, Kenzie Parsons, Faith Dalton and Reagan Phillips-Wright, all seniors. Also joining the team is Jacky Abrego, a senior, who is just taking up the game.
Long-time coach Morris Petty said that Faith Dalton is the team’s current No. 1 player.
“She is extremely long and a good iron player. I am expecting her to have a really good year. I believe we can win sectional as a team, but Faith should be able to get out as an individual,” Petty added.
Kenzie Parsons is also a returning senior, and Petty believes she also has enough game to be a medalist contender.
“She has played a lot over the summer and has shown ‘flashes of brilliance.’ Her biggest thing will be to develop more consistency and work on her confidence,” he said of Parsons.
Phillips-Wright, Petty said, has also be working on her skills.
“She is a lot like Kenzie and should develop more consistency as the season goes on. She is working on her ball striking and developing more length,” he added.
The fourth member is Abrego, who is new to the game this year. Her presence allows the team to post a team score and Petty thinks she will be able to help the team by the time sectional rolls around.
Petty said that he is being helped by former Hatchet standout Josh Butcher. Petty believes that WHS has a good chance to advance out of sectional and get to the Country Oaks regional.
Barr-Reeve doubled the size of its team this year, as senior standout Kaidee Claridge will be joined by freshman Braylee Knepp.
Matt Anderson returns as the coach, and he has high hopes for Claridge, who is now in her fourth year of varsity golf.
“Kaidee got out of sectional her sophomore year and missed getting out by just one stroke last year. I think as long as everything goes according to plan, I think she will get out again,” said Anderson.
“She has shaved so many strokes off her game. She has been really consistent and has been in the low 40’s most of the summer. She played in IGA Junior Tournaments this summer, and I think that really helped her out playing against some of that competition.”
Knepp, a freshman, is also taking her first stab at competitive golf.
“She played out here in some of the local events, like the junior high fall program, but this will be another level for her,” added Anderson. “These are two really good girls to work with, and I’m looking forward to this year.”
The North Daviess girls’ golf squad, led the past few years by former Cougar standout and Marian University golf alum, Darrah Holder, sports a new coach in Nick Wininger. Wininger, who has spent the past few springs working on the boys’ side, has some tradition to uphold as the Lady Cougars are the six-time defending SWIAC conference champions.
Last year’s outfit graduated four seniors, including regional participant Lexi Cornelius. However, Wininger does welcome back All-Conference selections Aubrea Borders and Alexis Knepp. The coach mentioned that besides counting on the aforementioned senior-junior duo, he potentially sees Mackenzie Arney, Trinity Gingerich and Gracie Knepp shaping up in his top five as the program features a total of 13 golfers.
“Mackenzie has played a lot of golf as this is her fourth year, and Trinity is a junior who can hit the driver and could play well,” he said. “Borders and Knepp both have demonstrated that they can play some good golf while freshman Gracie Knepp has shown signs of doing the same.”
The Cougars make their debut versus Washington at Country Oaks on Monday, Aug. 19.