Monday was a bittersweet day for the Carthage High School girls golf program.
Abbey Catron became the first girls golfer at Carthage to qualify for the state tournament, but the Tigers missed qualifying for state as a team by seven strokes.
"We were only 11 strokes from first place," Carthage head coach Lowell Catron said. "It was kind of a tough pill to swallow. I was proud of the girls. We had a great year and to get that close was a step forward with what we've done with the program in two years. It's nice getting a girl to state."
Catron will represent the Tigers at the state tournament on Monday and Tuesday at The Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau. She shot 90 on the par 71 course at the Sedalia Country Club during the Class 2, Sectional 3 tournament earlier this week.
"Conditions were really tough," Lowell Catron said. "It was about 40 degrees, the wind was blowing and the ground was wet. The pin placements were really hard. You throw in the pressure of sectional and it was tough to score."
Only seven golfers scored lower than 90, and Catron said Abbey ran into trouble on the front 9, but posted a 42 on the back side.
"I think that was one of the best 9-hole scores for the day on the back," Catron said. "It was a bittersweet day with Abbey making it but Courtney (Catron) missing it by one stroke, and her being a senior we were all really upset with the results of that. Kelsey (Frost) only missed qualifying by three strokes."
Still, after qualifying three girls for the sectional tournament a year ago in the first season for girls golf in Carthage, the Tigers qualified for the sectional round as a team this year and will be represented at state.
"I can't imagine competing in a sport where your goal is not a state tournament," Catron said. "If your goal is just to play and have fun, you sure do spend a lot of time in a sport to not set goals for yourself. I know we've only had girls golf for two years, but the first day of practice we always talk about trying to be at the top of the sport in the state. That's our goal and unfortunately when you don't get there it's kind of disappointing, but when you do get there you've worked hard. That's just a reward for the hard work.
"They've all worked hard," he said. "Five or six of them have been playing since March. They've been working real hard to improve and Abbey has improved a lot from last year. She got to play in the sectional a year ago and I think that was big because she remembered what it was like. You just go out and play the game. Last year she was playing real good through 13 or 14 holes and then didn't play very good the last four holes because she started thinking about where she was and how she was doing. I think somebody like Kelsey (25 over par, 22nd overall at sectional) learned a great deal. She was understandably disappointed afterward, but she was playing about No. 8 or 9 on the team last year and now she's in the top 22 at sectional, it was just unbelievable. We've talked about her hard work and doing it again next year. Who knows where she'll go in a year's time."
Page 2 of 2 -