By Don Eskins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Springfield Catholic Lady ‘Fightin Irish’ are 2019 Class 1 Section 2 Champions.
Overpowering teams throughout the season it was no surprise that Catholic walked off the Bill & Payne Stewart golf course in Springfield on Monday afternoon with the win.
The Irish fired a sub-300 round of 297 to get this year’s title, 83 strokes better than runner-up Logan-Rogersville, which posted a 380 on the day. Closing out the five team race was Sacred Heart- third at 417, Eldon- fourth at 429 and Greenwood- fifth at 431.
The Irish once again rode the hot hands Reagan Zibilski and Kayla Pfitzner to the 2019 Sectional title. Zibilski carded a 68 en route to the Lady Irish victory while Pfitzner recorded a 73.
Also posting scores in the 70’s for Catholic were Lyla Lauderbaugh- 77 and Kyleigh Pfitzner- 79.
The Lady Irish have enjoyed a season rarely experienced by golfing prepsters around the state, an undefeated one.
“We have had a great season this year both as a team and individuals,” said head Irish coach Frank Gallant. “But our season isn’t over yet. Next week we go to Fremont for the state tournament. I’ve been telling our kids that they’re lined up to do something truly great there but to do that they must stay focused on what our main goal has been all season long and that is to win state.”
From all appearances Gallant’s message was well received by his charges.
“We’ve been working hard and have had our eyes on the prize all season long,” said Reagan Zibilski. “We know what we’re capable of achieving at state and I think our chances are good there. It’s our home turf and we’re all excited about what we have an opportunity to do there.”
For senior Kayla Pfitzner, last year’s Class 1 individual champion, 2019 will be her last opportunity to bring a state title back to Springfield Catholic. Something Catholic has never been able it win.
“Winning sectionals was special this year especially for me,” said Pfitzner. “But now we all want to be the first group of Irish girls to win a state title, it’s been what we’ve been focusing on all season. For me personally, after having won a title last year individually, it would be icing on the cake. It’s going to be the last time I’ll get to tee up with these girls and I want it to be a very special time for all of us.”
The Irish have been getting help from all of its team members throughout the season. Newcomer Lyla Lauderbaugh, a freshman, says that playing at SC has been great.
“I wanted to play golf at Catholic, that’s why I’m here,” said Lauderbaugh. “I already played with most of my teammates before coming here so the transition was pretty easy for me. And it’s really made me happy to be able to help them win. I hope to be able to do that again next week at state.”
For Kyleigh Pfitzner, a sophomore, next week’s state title has special significance. It will be the last time her and her sister Kayla play together in high school.
“It’s going to be hard to watch her go,” said Kyleigh. “The time we’ve been able to spend together has been very special to us both. But I know she’s going to do great things at Missouri State next year.”
Besides winning a state title for Springfield Catholic the young Pfitzner has another goal at next Monday and Tuesday’s big dance at Fremont.
“Last year I missed making All-State by just one stroke,” she said. “This year I hope to finish in the top ten and make the All-State team.”
Coach Gallant has built the Springfield Catholic golf program, only four years old, and there beside him has been Kayla Pfitzner.
“Kayla has been great here and we’re really going to miss her,” said Gallant. “But she’s always going to be competitive, doesn’t like to lose and I know she’ll do well next year at MSU. I wish her the very best there.”
“Coach has been great to me. He’s stayed after me to keep focused and work hard,” said Pfitzner. “But he’s also been there to pick me up through the tough times. He’s been like a father to me and I’m going to miss him.”
Now it’s time for the Irish, who lost out on a state title last year by just two strokes to step up.
“We’ve gotten good play from all our girls most all year,” said Gallant. “Now we just need to go out and get it done at state next week. Reagan and Kayla have played solid golf for us all year and furnished a young team with the leadership needed to win. If we get that same solid play and leadership one more time I think we’ll be in great shape next week.”