By Don Eskins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Springfield Catholic girls golf team picked up their first team win of the season on Thursday.
Catholic registered a 370 for their day’s effort to slip past the West Plains Zizzers, who carded a 371, by just one stroke. The tourney took place at the Bill and Payne Stewart golf course.
“We got help today from everybody on our team, ” said Irish head coach Frank Gallant. “Kayla Pfitzner played solid for us once again, with a 72, and we got another good effort from our number two girl Allison Berke who came in with a 91. But our three, four and five girls (Ellen Moore- 99, Brooke Newhouse- 108 and Cate Schnoebelen-121) really came through today. They shaved enough strokes off their averages to give us a chance to win, and we did.”
Gallant said he feels that restructuring priorities, at practice, helped his girls bag the victory at MSU.
“We’ve been working on our short game a lot, trying to eliminate mistakes, and to help our three, four and five girls get their scores under control, ” the Irish coach said. “I’d have to say that we saw some good results on that today. They were all very competitive. I’m really proud of these kids, they’ve hung in there all year, and all their hard work is starting to show.”
Pfitzner, who had an uncharacteristic round of 82 on Monday at the Pearson Golf Tourney- held at Horton Smith, had her game back on track Thursday.
“I played just terrible at the Pearson. It was just a really bad day for me,” said the Irish sophomore. “But today I got my head on straight and just went out to win.”
Pfitzner, who was one under par after seventeen holes of play, double-bogeyed number 18 to finish one over.
Camdenton’s Amber Wilson captured the MSU Relays top medalist honors. Wilson fired a 69 on the day, two under par.
“My length was good today but my biggest asset was my chipping and putting,” Wilson said. “So I could get about sixty yards out and then hit it really close to the hole. My putting was on and it really saved me today.”
The Camdenton senior, who recorded a three under par 69 earlier this year, said she’s looking forward to what’s still down the road in 2017.
“I’m playing with a lot of confidence right now so I’m hoping to grab a state title this year,” she said. “That’s the plan anyway. I just need to continue to keep my level of play up.”
West Plains’ Marisa Butler also had a big day. Butler, who finished fourth overall with a 79, eagled on the par-5 390 yard twelfth hole.
“I left my ball about twelve feet from the cup,” said Butler. “I was really excited about it and all of the girls in my group were so encouraging and supportive. I made the putt and it felt great. It’s the first eagle I’ve ever gotten in tournament play.”
Butler’s 79 led all Zizzer golfers. Also contributing to the West Plains effort was Caroline Beykirch- 80, Abby Lipford- 103, Chloe Howell- 109 and Addisyn Becker- 112.
With their conference tournament coming up next Thursday Gallant thinks his kids are ready for the task.
“We have struggled a lot this year but we’re playing our best golf at the right time, late in the season,” said the Irish coach. “We’re definitely on a high right now- we just have to keep it going.”
MSU Relay Results
1 Catholic 370
2 West Plains 371
3 Ozark 374
(tie) Glendale 374
5 Camdenton 383
(tie) Willard 383
7 Kickapoo 392
8 Glendale B 403
9 Republic 431
10 Hillcrest 457
11 Kickapoo B 459
12 Waynesville 462
1 Amber Wilson 69 Camdenton
1 Kayla Pfitzner 72 Catholic
3 Kourtney Tucker 75 Central (Ind)
4 Marisa Butler 79 WP
5 Elizabeth Freeman 80 Ozark
(tie) Caroline Beykirch 80 WP