YORKTOWN – Reece Malapit and Holly Haynes set up next to each other on the driving range at The Players Club.
The seven members of the Yorktown girls golf team have hit the range at practice, and the top two players are at one end. The two teammates sometimes go to their bags, making sure to practice their shots using a variety of clubs. At times, they pick out targets, then each attempt to get closer to the prescribed spots.
The pair frequently talk between shots, often sharing a laugh.
“They’re kind of two peas in a pod, to be honest,” teammate Maddy Kline said. “They’re both really positive and good and making us laugh.”
Malapit and Haynes will be counted on to anchor the Yorktown lineup this season following the graduation of two Division I-bound players (Rachel Johnson and Morgan Clark).
Malapit is a junior who made an immediate impact in the varsity lineup as a freshman, playing in the No. 3 position behind Johnson and Clark. Haynes is a senior who had a more gradual rise through the lineup. She didn’t play varsity as a freshman, as a loaded roster of four future Division I players won a state title.
Haynes and Malapit even went so far as matching scores last postseason. They each shot 81s at the sectional as Yorktown won easily with four golfers in the top five. The following week, they carded 91s at the regional.
Malapit won her age group in a summer tournament series this offseason. Haynes won her age group in an offseason tournament in Noblesville to close the season, and finished fourth in her age group in the point standings for the series. The pair guided their team to a season-opening win against New Castle on Aug. 5, with Malapit earning medalist honors by shooting 35 and Haynes 41 to provide the Tigers’ second score.
“We definitely want to push each other to make putts and get lower scores,” Haynes said.
While the two players are serious about producing low scores, both say they aren’t especially outwardly competitive with each other, instead just having fun together on the course.
“We have very similar personalities in that we’re both outgoing and just kind of relaxed,” Haynes said. “That definitely shows on the course when we’re playing together.”
The two players hope that relaxed attitude will rub off on the other five players on the team, better equipping them to handle the inherent ups-and-downs that come with the sport.
“We need to provide positivity and keeping everybody positive on the course,” Malapit said. “And not getting down after every shot. Because that’s how you grow as a golfer and as a person.”
Haynes and Malapit take a break from their own shots on the driving range in practice. Malapit has noticed something about a teammate’s swing, so she and Haynes stop and observe, hoping to better understand their teammate’s game. They watch her work through the issue, including when she unleashes a better shot that shows signs of improvement.
“That was a good one,” Malapit tells her.
Contact prep sports reporter Sam Wilson at (765) 213-5807. Follow him on Twitter @SamWilsonTSP.