Sep. 19—MONTICELLO — As the scores were being tabulated and the math was being finalized, the Logansport girls golf team realized they had advanced past the Twin Lakes girls golf sectional as a team.
The Berries reacted in jubilation as they had reached their goal.
“Unbelievable,” Logansport coach Abby Lundy said. “We were hoping for that third-place finish and the girls played their hearts out today and played the best round that they’ve played all season. It was a really sweet third-place finish.”
The Berries had several players step up to shoot a season-best 374 to top Rensselaer by one stroke for the third and final spot in the Lake Central Regional.
Freshman Izzy Lundy led the Berries with a career-best 85, followed by junior Sophia Kay (87), senior Katelyn Barber (100), freshman Natalie Graham (102) and sophomore Maeda Bradbury (124).
“We had three personal-best scores today,” coach Lundy said. “Kate Barber, my No. 5 senior, shot a 100. Natalie Graham, which is my No. 3, shot her personal-best 102. Izzy Lundy, our freshman, shot an 85 as a personal best. Sophia shot eight strokes better than last year. Maeda playing her first sectional ever getting that experience and not playing a lot of golf since ever picking up clubs until this summer. So I’m really proud of them all. It was a great team effort.
“It is a very tough course. The front actually was harder for us which is usually easier. The girls just grinded it out and played really well on the back side to earn that third spot.”
It was a long day of golf for the Berries which started at around 11 a.m. and ended around 4 p.m. At this time of year there were several elements to deal with including a big shift in temperatures from the morning to afternoon playing on a course with a lot of water, a lot of sand and deep rough at Tippecanoe Country Club.
“It’s crazy to think that I shot an 85 when it started raining twice and it started to get hot at the end,” Izzy Lundy said. “It was crazy weather and a very difficult golf course.
“Chipping definitely helped a lot with my lower putts. I did have some pretty good iron shots as well.”
Kay, the lone returning starter from last year’s NCC championship team, started the day with a 10-over 45 but she came in with a 5-over 42 on the back. That included a double bogey 6 on the final hole that could have been worse.
“I got a ball that got stuck into some heather and we couldn’t find it. So I had to take a penalty out of that but I still managed to come up with a good enough score to save me the hole,” Kay said. “It was a very up and down round. I look at it right now and I don’t think I played very well. But looking back at last year it was way better than I could have imagined. What was really amazing was the last putt I made on 18 was probably the biggest putt of my golf career. It not only got me to regionals but it won our team third place to advance as a team.
“It was about a 5-foot putt downhill and it probably had about a foot-and-a-half break. So it was definitely not an easy putt, definitely not one that should have went in but it did.”
Had the putt not gone in, Rensselaer would have advanced on the fifth-score tiebreaker and Kay would have needed to make a putt to force a playoff for a spot in the regional as an individual.
Kankakee Valley repeated as the sectional champion with a 333. Rochester was runner-up with a 350 to also advance.
Logansport’s third-place finish this year was a drastic change from last year in the reaction afterwards. The Berries were defending sectional champions a year ago and had their best team in 31 years, so they were somber after finishing third.
There were tears of joy after this year’s third-place finish. The new-look team finished just eight strokes behind last year’s score and 10 strokes behind the sectional championship score two years ago.
“We played really good last year and we had a good team,” Kay said. “But we have a lot of new girls this year and a lot of freshmen, and they’ve not had nearly as much experience. So for us to come together this season as much as we have and not only play as good as we did but advance to regionals was absolutely amazing. And for those freshmen on the team, I can’t wait to see what they do after I’m gone.”
Winamac senior Bianca Huizar shot a 79 and won a three-way playoff with back-to-back pars on 1 and 2 to earn sectional medalist honors. A feature on Huizar’s win will appear in Thursday’s Pharos-Tribune.
Huizar defeated Kankakee Valley’s Brynlee DeBoard and Rochester’s Olivia Bailey in the playoff.
Rensselaer’s Carly Drone (83) and Pioneer’s Mia McKaig (88) also advanced to the regional as individuals.
McKaig, a sophomore who started golfing the summer before her freshman year just 14 months ago, matched her career-best 18 holes. Her best nine-hole round is a 39.
“It wasn’t my very best day but it was good enough,” she said. “I had some lucky shots I’d say. I had a putt there at the end that was good and lucky made it better. So it was kind of a normal day for me.”
She said she’s been a quick study in golf with the help of a lot of practice.
“I think every day in the summer that I could go I would go,” she said. “My grandpa [Tom Dafnos] has taught me some things and the rest of it is just you’ve got to play and figure it out is the only way to get better.”
Winamac placed fifth with a 385 as a team with a score that would have been good enough to advance past the vast majority of the sectionals in the state. Following Huizar’s score of 79 was Olivia Link (95), Maggie Smith (100), Sierra Haschel (111) and Ashlynn Jennings (112).
Twin Lakes placed sixth with a 388, followed by DeMotte Christian (425), Tri-County (448), Pioneer (469), North Newton (481), South Newton (558) and Caston (Inc.).
Following McKaig’s score of 88 for Pioneer was Kendra Hanson (126), Brenner McLain (127), Addison Nethercutt (128) and Baylee Rowan (131).
Jullina Sherick led Caston with a 129, followed by Ava Sylvain (137) and Savannah Zimmerman (139).
The Lake Central Regional gets underway at 9 a.m. EST Saturday at Sandy Pines Golf Club in DeMotte.