By Jeff Cali – The Ada News
With several tournaments now complete, Ada girls golf coach Ron Anderson is excited about the future of his program.
“For the first time in three years, we have a complete team of six high school players and four junior high,” Anderson said. “Although very young and inexperienced, I believe this group of girls, have the most potential for success than any team I’ve had while here at Ada.”
Anderson said it was nice to have plenty of golfers during a practice round.
“With a total of 10 girls out this year it makes for friendly competition in practice,” he said. “Regardless of the sport, competition makes everyone better. I believe this will make us more competitive at tournaments.”
Before the season started, Anderson believed the key to this year would be good focus, experience and course management.
“I don’t think any teacher, coach, or parent would argue that focus with young kids is challenging. Our time on the course during practice and tournaments is critical,” he explained. “The unpredictable weather and now COVID-19 restrictions could cancel practice for days or weeks. You can’t coach experience and that is what these girls need most.”
Anderson stresses course management to the girls and how important it is to control what you can control.
“In 20-plus years of coaching golf, boys or girls, course management is the only thing you can control,” he said. “I‘m 100% convinced a golfer of any age would shave off several strokes if they’d just control what they do before hitting the ball. This will be stressed daily and will only come with experience.”
Last season was cut short by the pandemic and the high school girls played in only one tournament. The junior high season was canceled before competing in any tournaments.
“All the girls were disappointed not to have a season last year and I think this has motivated them to work even harder this year,” Anderson said. “We have a full schedule for both junior high and high school and hopefully none will be canceled. So far that has been the case”.
The girls high school season opened on March 11 at the Turner Tournament at Falconhead Resort. Playing two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior, the young Lady Cougars shot a 483 team total.
Ava Patterson led the team with a 108 individual total. Lined with out-of-bounds markers on both sides practically every hole, the course gave the girls challenges not seen before.
“This was certainly a learning experience for us,” Anderson said. “Just avoiding hitting out of bounds, we could have saved 40 plus strokes”.
A very strong Turner team won the tournament on their home course shooting a team score of 339.”
Ava Manwell shot a 124 for Ada followed by Emily Kemp at 125, Lexie Inslee at 126 and Kylie Cutler at 132.
The Lady Cougars played at the Seminole Tournament on March 22 and it was cut short due to rain. All teams were able to complete only nine holes, thus changing the scoring system based on “score-to-par”.
The Lady Cougars finished fourth out of nine teams participating. Ava Patterson shot a +18 leading the Lady Cougars with a +85 team total. Ava Manwell was next at +21 followed by Emily Kemp and Lexie Inslee with identical +24s and Kylie Cutler at +32.
The Lady Cougars then traveled to the Dornick Hill Country Club on March 29 to play in the loaded Ardmore Tournament. A total of 14 teams from all class sizes participated.
“Dornick Hills is one of the most outstanding but difficult courses we’ll play this year,” Anderson said. “Narrow fairways, sand traps everywhere, fast greens, a crazy cliff hole and windy conditions proved challenging. But, I was very proud of the way the girls stayed focused. We got better that day and hopefully, it will help when we return to Dornick Hills to play in the Plainview Tournament.”
The Lady Cougars finished in the middle of the pack for a seventh-place finish and a 462 team total.
Ava Manwell led the Lady Cougars with a 110 individual total. Ava Patterson was next with a 113 followed by Emily Kemp at 115, Lexie Inslee at 124 and Kylie Cutler at 135.