Holt junior golfer Pader Her is leading the Rams this season and setting school records along the way.
One of the best golfers in the state, Her has already shot two rounds of 71 early in the season to set a school record for an 18-hole round.
“She shot the first one to start our year at Grand Ledge Country Club, but then to back it up and shoot 71 on the Wolverine (in Traverse City) was just a phenomenal golf round and she won the opening day,” Holt coach Doug Harkema said. “She’s just had a phenomenal start. 73 is her average right now and she’s playing wonderful.”
Her also fired a 73 at the Brighton Invitational on Aug. 27.
“She’s been the rock of our team. She’s worked so hard. She’s hitting the ball further than she was last year, and she knew that was her weakness. She’s really worked out and gotten stronger.”
While Her will lead the group, it may be Holt’s supporting cast that determines whether or not the Rams reach yet another Division I state tournament.
Coming off a third place performance in 2010, Holt finished eighth as a team in last year’s Division I state final, but lost three key contributors to that team in Casey Harkema, Lauren Strong and Kari Somerville.
“When you have no seniors, and you just graduated three who are playing small college golf, it’s a big change, not just for me but for the players,” Doug Harkema said. “The group that came through had experience and they were rock solid players.”
But Harkema sees the potential in this younger crop, which includes one player who played in last year’s state final in junior Alexxis VanPelt.
The Rams carded a team score of 178 at the Aug. 28 CAAC Jamboree to finish third behind Okemos and East Lansing, who are the favorites in the league.
If the season goes well and improvements are made, the Rams could find themselves back at the state tournament while setting themselves up for a monster 2013 season.
“We’re better off than where I thought we’d be,” Doug Harkema said. “Our region is not loaded with super-duper teams, so it’s a possibility. The two big things for them are how good can we be by the end of this season and how good can we be by the start of next season.”