How unexpected was Greenwood’s victory at Thursday’s MSU Relays?
Two of Greenwood’s five golfers, thinking the Blue Jays were a long shot against the likes of Kickapoo and Glendale, left before individual and team results were announced.
Even the three remaining Greenwood golfers needed to see the final standings first hand.
“We were sitting over there, not expecting to win, and Coach (David Oatman) comes over and goes, ‘You beat Glendale AND you beat Kickapoo,’” said Greenwood’s Annie Gipson, who had a round of 94. “We were like, ‘Wait, what?’ We had to come over to (the scoreboard) and see it for ourselves.”
It was true. Greenwood, with a MSHSSA adjusted enrollment of 173, had won the team trophy in one of the largest annual local tournaments for girls’ high school golf.
The 364 team score marked Greenwood’s best 18-hole performance in a decade, said coach David Oatman. This after the Greenwood boys’ golf team placed third in Class 1 at the end of the 2015-16 school year.
“In the beginning of (this) season, coach told us we had a really good chance of winning and I thought, ‘Nope, he’s thinking of the boys’ (golf) team,” cracked Greenwood’s Bailey Wilbur. “But apparently we can do some really good stuff, too. I was really proud of what we did today.”
Greenwood senior Meredith Sharp, a three-time state qualifier, led the way for the Blue Jays with a round of 79. Sharp benefited from increased driver use.
“This is probably the first tournament since my freshman year that I’ve used my driver consistently and been happy with it,” Sharp said. “The last three years at state, I haven’t performed at state like I know I can, so I think this is my chance to prove myself.”
But perhaps a bit of credit for Sharp’s score could go to her trademark vibrant fashion styles. Sharp, wearing Halloween-themed socks on Thursday, is never shy about expressing herself on the course.
“I’ve got the Halloween socks on – favorite holiday,” Sharp said. “I think that I feel comfortable whenever I’m wearing something crazy.”
Added Wilbur: “It’s good, but different. It expresses how she is.”
Ari Acuff’s so-so day was still good enough for her to claim her second tournament win of the young season. The Chiefs golfer, who finished runner-up at Class 2 state last year, shot a 7-over 77, to claim overall medalist honors at the 2016 MSU Relays.
“It wasn’t very pretty. I scrambled a lot,” Acuff said. “My swing wasn’t very fluent today and I was trying to account for it on the course. It was a lot of scramble golf and scrambling for pars.”
Acuff also finished second at the Laker Invitational last week and will compete in the Ozark Invitational at Fremont Hills on Thursday, Sept. 8. Acuff hopes to rebound and improve from her round on Thursday.
“I’m not really happy with today, but it was enough to be on top so I’m not going to complain about that,” Acuff said. “But I’m definitely going to work on it because I didn’t feel great about it.”
Republic senior Katie Hamilton tied for third overall. She recovered from a sluggish start and closed her day with a strong back-nine effort.
“I had a rough front nine,” Hamilton said. “I started off well then double-bogeyed three holes, so that set me back, but then I got it going again on the back nine and shot a 38.”
Hamilton is aiming for a second straight state appearance after tying for 58th overall in Class 2 last year.
“Hit more greens and hit more fairways,” Hamilton said. “As the courses get tighter, that’s what matters.”
1. Acuff, Kickapoo, 77
2. Sharp, Greenwood, 79
T3. Hamilton, Republic, 81
T3. Hiebert, Glendale, 81
5. Pfitzner, Catholic, 84
T6. Hooker, Waynesville, 86*
T6. Butler, West Plains, 86
Medalist by tiebreaker
1. Greenwood, 364
2. Glendale, 371
3. Kickapoo, 372
A. Ebert, 113
R. Ebert, 129