By Don Eskins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
After coming up just short of a state title last year, the Catholic girls golf team left no doubt winning the 2019 Class 1 state tournament by 117 strokes.
Catholic, under the direction of head coach Frank Gallant, blew past an eight-team field, all in hopes or returning home with a state title, assembled at Fremont Hills Country Club Golf Course on Monday and Tuesday.
But the Irish, who experienced a disappointing two stroke loss to John Burroughs in last year’s state final, served notice to the field early that there would be no denying them a state title in 2019.
Catholic posted a team low of 320 in the tournament’s first round of play on Monday, 49 strokes better than Father Tolton High’s second best total of 369, and then followed that up with a 308 on Tuesday for a two day total of 628.
Father Tolton, which finished as the tournament’s runner-up, closed out their second round of play with a 376 for a two day total of 745.
The Irish won the 2019 title convincingly by a margin of 117 strokes.
“It feels good. Our kids stepped up and played well when we needed them to the most,” said Irish coach Frank Gallant. “After last year’s two stroke loss they’ve all kept focused on getting back to the ‘Big Dance’ this year to make a statement and that’s just what they did. They’ve worked hard and done everything they needed to do to get back here. Today they got it done and they deserved it. I’m so proud of them all.”
But Catholic’s success didn’t end there.
Irish senior Kayla Pfitzner also won this year’s individual state championship to make it back-to-back individual titles.
Pfitzner carded a two day total of 146, four over par, to win the 2019 individual state title.
“It’s almost surreal. I never really thought I would win it again this year,” said Pfitzner. “It’s a great feeling to win though. But our main goal this year has been to bring back a state title to Springfield Catholic. It’s an awesome feeling to be able to accomplish both, especially in my senior year.”
“Kayla’s always been about team but we’re all happy to see her pick up another individual title this year,” said Gallant. “She’s worked hard from day one and served as an inspiration and leader for our team. We’re going to miss her a bunch but I know she’s going to do well at Missouri State next year.”
Four Catholic players finished out the tournament in the top ten. Along with Pfitzner was Reagan Zibilski- 2nd at 151, Kyleigh Pfitzner (Kayla’s sister) 4th at 162 and Lyla Louderbaugh- seventh at 169.
Louderbaugh, who had a rough day on Monday with a 90, bounced back to record a 79 on Tuesday.
“My putting was good today, I was hitting the greens in regulation and my chipping was working so I was getting up and down, all things that I struggled with yesterday,” said the Irish freshman.
Louderbaugh was somewhat upset after her round of 90 on Monday, all for a very special reason.
“I wanted to play better,” said Louderbaugh. “I wanted to help us win a state title for Kayla. She’s meant so much to us all.”
The Logan-Rogerville Wildcats also played well. The Wildcats, who posted a 419, finished fourth. Brooke Wagner carded a 171 over the course of her thirty six holes to finish in a tie for eighth.
The top fifteen golfers in this year’s tournament all made the All-State team.