CARROLL — “My irons — hitting the mid-range shots — are the best part of my game. I hit good approach shots. I really love this sport. I’m looking to improve my overall game, and that means, putting better and having good drives off the tee boxes.”
That was how Newton junior Shelbey Cochran assessed her golf game before the start of 2014 season. She was right and it helped her win an individual Iowa Class 4A regional championship and lead the Cardinals to their first 4A regional title in a long time.
Cochran collected the top medalist honors at the Class 4A Region 1 tournament Tuesday. She shot an 85 with rounds of 41 and 44 on the Par-72 Carroll Municipal Golf Course. Cochran’s personal-best 85 for 18 holes was four strokes lower than the three golfers who tied for second at 89.
The Cardinals combined for a 361, qualifying for the 2014 Class 4A state golf tournament as the Region 1 champion. Adel-DeSoto-Minburn was second with a 369, also qualifying as a team.
“The girls played really well today. I’m very proud of the way they stayed focused, even when they had trouble on a couple of holes during the middle part of the tournament,” said Scott Enyart, NHS girls’ head coach.
“Shelbey’s irons play was tremendous the whole day. It was the best ball-striking I’ve seen from her this season and her approach shots were great. She had a lot of pars on the day. She birdied the second hole of the day then had several other birdie opportunities through the round.”
Cochran’s 41 on the front nine was her personal-best for nine holes. Newton seniors Madigan Hillyard (45-47), Carrie Cunningham (49-43) and Madeline Wellik (44-48) each posted a 92 for the day. Sophomore Jessica Reynolds carded a 93 (49-44) and sophomore Cydney Hillyard finished with a 98 (49-49).
Cunningham, Wellik, Madigan Hillyard, Cochran and Reynolds return to the state tournament after finishing sixth as a team in 2013. This will be the fourth time Newton has qualified for state under Enyart, who is in his 13th year as head coach. They went in 2003 placing eighth and 2008 placing seventh.
“Madigan, Carrie and Jessica each had a two holes which gave them problems during the day. They were different holes, but our golfers bounced back from those to play well the next hole,” Enyart said. “They didn’t let it bother them. Our girls played mentally tough today.”
Enyart said Cunningham had a good back nine holes, parring her final two holes of the day. Wellik recorded a birdie on the Par-3 No. 7 and Reynolds birdied No. 17. Madigan Hillyard parred her final hole — No. 15 — to help secure the team victory for the Cardinals, he added.
“All of our girls shot in the 40s for nine holes and our depth carried us again today,” Enyart said. “We have six girls we can count on.”
The Cardinals head to the Iowa Class 4A state tournament next Monday and Tuesday at Ames Country Club.
at Carroll Municipal Golf Course
Newton – 361 – State Qualifier
ADM – 369 – State Qualifier
Spencer – 372
Carroll – 391
Harlan – 393
Storm Lake – 406
Bishop Heelan – 431
Denison-Schleswig – 438
Lewis Central – 456
Perry – 500
Shelbey Cochran, Newton – 85
Lexi Owen, ADM – 89
Hayley Willems, ADM – 89
Rachel Sather, Spencer – 89
Molly Lund, Bishop Heelan – 90
Taylor Boorn, ADM – 90