Watching and waiting

September 23, 2018

BATTLE GROUND — There was a sense of hope in Drew White’s tone as he checked the nine-hole team scores at Saturday’s Battle Ground Regional.

With his Michigan City girls golf team nine shots off the third and final state-qualifying spot, the Wolves coach was cautiously optimistic at the turn.

Led by Lia Thomas’ 39, City shot a 178 on the front. While Culver Academies (154) and Crown Point (159) had separated themselves from the pack, the fight for third was close amongst four teams in the 169 to 178 range, including the Duneland Athletic Conference contingent of Valparaiso, Lake Central and City.

The Wolves finished at 360 with the round still in progress. Thomas was the team’s low scorer at 81, followed by sectional medalist Taylor Skibinski (88). Emily Gushrowski shot 95, one better than Sara Poulin (96), and Emma Sells carded a 108.

Among La Porte County’s individual participants, New Prairie’s Jordan Winters shot a 103, scooting back on the road right afterward to make it home for the homecoming dance at school.

“I thought I played well, I just didn’t score well,” Winters said. “I was pleased with how I hit the ball off the tee. I hit it solid. They just didn’t come out the way I wanted, and I got in some trouble instead. I’m hoping to build on this and grow from here.”

Winters gave coach Bruce Watson credit for her success this season and Watson is looking forward to big things from Winters the next two years.

“She played pretty well for a sophomore in her first time at regionals,” he said. “She had two bad holes or her score would’ve been really good. She kept her composure and kept working. She’ll be back next year.”

In her third regional round, La Porte’s Maddie Fleshman carded a 105.

“I found myself in a lot of trouble off the tee boxes,” Fleshman said. “I was starting holes having to punch out instead of having a clear shot. My chipping was OK, not like how it normally is. I was putting very well. I made a lot of good shots to get out of trouble. The 18th hole, I had my best tee shot. It was my last tee shot, so I was pleased with that.”

South Central’s Chloe Ryan struggled in her regional debut, finishing her high school career with a 123.

“I just couldn’t get anything in the air,” she said. “I didn’t think (the nerves) would (bother me), but they did.”

Satellites coach Jim Ridley said Ryan struggled with the wind in Friday’s practice round and those vibes carried over to Saturday.

“It was a rough day,” Ridley said. “The weather didn’t help out. It didn’t work out very well, but she should be happy, proud that she made it. Overall, she should feel happy season-wise, leading up to (Friday). It may not seem like an accomplishment at this moment, but it is.”

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