BATH TOWNSHIP — It looked like two friends taking a leisurely stroll down the fairway.
Former Shawnee teammates Sheridan Balyeat and Kate Hoops chatted and laughed their way around Hawthorne Hills Golf Club in the same group Thursday afternoon.
And, through it all, there was some serious golf between the two, as well.
Balyeat (Ohio State/Shawnee) shot an even-par 72, while Hoops (Toledo/Shawnee) shot a 75 to lead the two-day qualifying in the Lima Area Women’s Match Play Tournament at Hawthorne.
Balyeat posted a two-day 148 (76-72), while Hoops came in at 149 (74-75) to lead the championship flight.
“It’s always really fun playing with Sheridan,” Hoops said. “We played in high school together and grew up together playing golf. It’s harder now that we’re both in college to play with each other a lot. It’s always fun in the summer to play the city.”
Balyeat added, “Today with Kate was really relaxing. We were talking the whole time and we kind of forgot we were playing in a competition.”
Balyeat was very consistent from tee to green. She had two birdies, with a 6-footer on No. 7 and another 6-footer on No.10.
“I was trying for par and if a birdie happened, it happened,” Balyeat said. “I was trying to play even golf.”
Balyeat said her game has most improved in the area of course management the last few years.
Hoops was strong off the tee, as usual, including driving to the fringe on the 295-yard, par-4, No. 14. But she parred the hole and wasn’t totally pleased with her game around the green.
“I was little more consistent today. I had some bogeys, but didn’t make the birdies today,” Hoops said. “I didn’t make the birdies when I had the opportunity. I struggled a little bit around the green. Putting was decent until the last hole (a three-putt).”
Shelby Warner (Findlay/Lima Central Catholic) shot 154 (77-77). Abbey Martin (Tiffin/Delphos St. John’s) shot a 156 (77-79).
The tournament turns to match play today, with quarterfinal rounds at The Oaks.
“I was hitting good shots and set myself up for a lot of birdies,” Warner said. “I had a lot of opportunities, but I couldn’t make a putt. I couldn’t get them roll them.”
Warner had a birdie on No. 17, when she landed her second shot 2 feet from the pin for an easy tap-in birdie.
“That gave me something to look forward to,” Warner said. “I was 120 out, and I hit it 115, bounced and went up to the cup. … I feel like I’m still in it. I just have to work on my putting.”
Rounding out the championship flight, Raven Venegas (Walsh/Shawnee) shot a 162 (80-82). Lesli Stolly had a 163 (82-81). Sandy Doan came in at 164 (82-82). Carol Mitchell shot 185 (91-94).
Stolly had the shot of the day on the 307-yard, par-4 No. 9. She took out her wedge landed her second shot within 6 feet. It took two hops, smacked the bottom of the stick and landed in the heart of the cup for an eagle-2.
“I was out about 125 and used a pitching wedge,” Stolly. “I knew that was the perfect club. When I hit it, it looked perfect, I was just looking for the right distance. I heard the clunk of the pin. I saw it bounce and I heard it.”
Stolly shot 35 on the front, but had a 46 on the back for 81.
In today’s championship match-play matches, Balyeat will play Mitchell at 8 a.m. Martin will meet Venegas at 8:07. Hoops will play Doan at 8:14. Warner will play Stolly at 8:21.
In the open flights, Charlotte Schaub shot a 173 (79-94). Carol Jackson shot 176 (89-87).