If last Friday’s Ben Davis girls golf sectional offered any indication, this Saturday’s regional hosted by Roncalli at Smock Golf Course could be a barnburner.
Second-ranked Westfield and No. 4 Carmel headline the field after tying atop the sectional with identical 300 scores. Westfield won its second straight sectional crown by breaking the tie on the strength of its No. 5 scorer, Emma Clary, whose 92 was two strokes better than Carmel’s No. 5.
Tee times start Saturday at 8 a.m. at Smock, one of five regional sites across the state. Center Grove, ranked 11th, is among the teams competing. The top three teams from each regional, plus top five individuals on non-advancing teams, qualify for the Oct. 2-3 state finals at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.
“For our kids, it was good for us to have a close match like that,” said Westfield coach Trevor Neu. “It’s the first time this year where we’ve had to come down to a tiebreaker situation. I think it helped our kids understand how important every shot is. I think it also helped the kids become really a lot closer as a team. A single kid’s score was really important and they got to see that. I think sometimes they forget that in the big picture of things.”
Westfield’s No. 3, Adrienne Montalone, led the team and placed second overall with a 70. Cailyn Henderson, last year’s state runner-up, carded a 74, Morgan Baechle scored a season-low 77 and Margaret Wentz finished with a 79.
“We’re fortunate enough that on our team we really have a few kids that could be No. 1s on several teams throughout the state,” Neu said. “The fact that our threes and fours have been playing so strong is what makes us a really strong team.”
Golf school, new mental approach helps Carmel’s George
Carmel senior Makenzie George had quite the turnaround at the Ben Davis Sectional, compared to her performance there a year ago, and could be a contender for the individual state crown.
George carded a match-low and career-best 66. As a junior, the Dayton recruit scored an 86 on the same course.
The reason for the 20-shot drop? George credits her time at the Mike Bender Golf Academy near Orlando, where she spent January through May refining her skills and mental approach to the game. That included working with a mental training coach. Now, George maintains a consistent routine and has certain habits she does before each shot.
“I guess it’s superstition,” she said. “Before I putt, I have to tap my left hand to my left knee. It makes me focused and gets me in game mode.”
George is hoping for a similar performance in the regional and is focused on winning the individual state title on her home course.
Royals riding high after edging rivals
Hamilton Southeastern edged neighboring rival Fishers, 321-324, to win its third straight title Saturday in the Anderson Sectional at Grandview. Noblesville, ranked 17th in the state, placed third with a 334.
The No. 7 Royals and No. 9 Tigers square off again in Saturday’s Lapel Regional, starting at 9 a.m. at Edgewood Golf Course.
HSE was the only team in its sectional that had all five players score below 90. Ciara McAree led the Royals and was the individual medalist with a 73.
“We put together a really solid round and are pretty happy,” said Royals coach Steve Guenin. “Three of our girls haven’t been to a state tournament before. I thought they did a nice job, so we’re excited. This regional is loaded with good teams. We know we have some stiff competition out there. It’s going to take a good day for us.”
Fifth-ranked Cathedral could challenge HSE and Fishers in the Lapel Regional. The Irish had the top three scorers at the Lawrence Central Sectional and finished with a 302 … Guerin Catholic’s Marissa Singer placed third in the Ben Davis Sectional with a 73 to advance individually to the regional at Smock … No. 16 Brownsburg won its sectional 328-331 over Plainfield and will compete today at Smock. Ninth-ranked Zionsville (342) was third.