The Newton girls golf team hosted Oskaloosa and Grinnell at Westwood Municipal Golf Course on Monday in what amounted to a tuneup for its regional match next Monday. The host Cardinals finished second with a 194, 14 strokes back of Grinnell’s 180. The Tigers finished the season undefeated in the Little Hawkeye Conferene.
For the Cardinals, Madigan Hillyard, Madeline Wellik and freshman Jessica Reynolds each shot 48 on the day to tie for the team low. Senior Bailey Kellogg and Carrie Cunningham both shot a 50, and Shelby Cochran ended up with a 51.
It was a nice day for golf, and a good opportunity for the Cardinals to get another look at what they have to contend with at regionals. The Tigers have been the best team in the conference all season, and even though they won by 14 strokes, Newton coach Scott Enyart pointed out the scores are closer than one might think.
“All the girls played pretty solid for six or seven out of the nine holes,” Enyart said. “Then each had a hole, or two, or three that just snuck up and bit them. It was different holes for different players. And if we’re able to tighten that up and clean up some of the mistakes, then we can compete with them. We have six girls who can perform on any day and the gap is small because really, that’s only a couple of shots per girl we need to make up.”
The Cardinals certainly hold an advantage with regionals taking place at their home course, and they boast favorable records against some of the other teams that will make the trip to Newton on Monday.
“We’re 2-1 against Norwalk,” Enyart said. “We’re also 2-1 against Vinton-Shellsburg, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to get up into one of those top two spots. Again, we need fewer mistakes. It’s about getting out of the sand in one shot instead of three, chipping more effectively and putting more effectively. I know the girls will put in the work over the next week to be ready for Monday.”
The Cardinals should be encouraged by this performance, as well as some of their performances in the latter half of last week.
On Thursday, the Cards traveled to Southeast Polk and finished seventh overall with a 375. Hillyard shot a 91, which included a 9-hole best score for her of 43. Cunningham shot a 93, which also included a 9-hole best of 45. Cochran shot a 95 with splits of 49 and 46, and Wellik shot a 96, splitting the nines with scores of 49 and 47.
On a soggy, wet and windy Saturday morning at South Tama, the Cardinal girls withstood some rough conditions on their way to a third place finish with a team score of 403. Wellik shot a 95 with splits of 49 and 46. Cunningham shot a 100, going 45 and 55 on the two nines. Cunningham’s 45 tied her 9-hole personal best score. Cochran shot a 103 with nines of 52 and 51. Rounding out the scores was a 105 from Bailey Kellogg, who chipped in for birdie on hole number 16. Wellik finished in fifth place at that tournament.
Once again, the Cardinals host IGHSAU regional action at Westwood on Monday morning at 10 a.m.
Sports writer Dustin Turner may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 440, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.