ARLINGTON – The most important lesson for a golfer to learn is that virtually every stroke counts.
Lima Central Catholic girl’s golf team took that lesson to heart and, as a result, they are Sycamore Springs district champions and heading to the state tournament.
High school golf uses five players with the low four scores counting to the team total; if there is a tie then the fifth player score is used.
The T-Birds were trailing Shelby by two strokes after the first four player scores were in. LCC fifth player Callie Koenig, the only senior on the team, came in with a 94 that tied Shelby and the T-Birds took the title thanks to a 96 from Hannah Garver that bested Shelby’s fifth score of 100.
“It’s a case of deja vu all over again; my first year as coach (2001) we went to state thanks to a fifth player tie-breaker.” LCC coach Dan Reineke said. “It feels wonderful; my job is to try to keep them calm and cool.”
The Mulcahy sisters, freshmen twins Mary Kelly and Erin plus junior Meghan, all used big comebacks on the back nine to pace the T-Bird victory.
Mary Kelly struggled to a 41 on the front nine before bouncing back with an even par 36 on the back for her total of 77.
“I had way too many three outs on the front nine,” Mary Kelly said. “I hit the ball good all day and got the greens figured out on the back.”
Erin almost matched her sister but fired a 41 on the front to go with 37 on the back for a total of 78 on the day.
“My putting was rough on the front and I started to hit greens on the back,” Erin said. “I got more comfortable as the round went on and 78 is my low score for the season.”
Big sister Meghan struggled her way to a 48 on the front before rebounding with a solid 41 on the back for her round of 89.
“I was very nervous on the front and knew I had to buckle down.” Meghan said. “I played the back nine the way I knew I could play.”
Garver shot nines of 46-50 for her total of 96 on the day.
“It feels amazing,” Garver said. “You always rely on team and I have a great team to play on where everyone contributes.”
Koenig shot her 94 on nine hole scores of 47-47.
“It feels great, this is my senior year and I’m so excited to have the team I have,” Koenig said. “I had no idea my score would count so I’m glad I was able to contribute.”
Four teams advance to the state tournament at the Ohio State Gray Course, and include St. Henry (third with 362) and Edison (fourth with 365) along with LCC and Shelby.
Area individuals participating include Jill Schmitmeyer of St. Marys, Grace Miller of Kalida, and Alivia Koenig of Bluffton.
Koenig shot 90, Miller fired an 82, and Schmitmeyer qualified for state with her round of 76 that was high-lighted by a hole-in-one on the eighth hole at Sycamore Springs.
“That was my first ever hole-in-one,” Schmitmeyer said. “I wasn’t playing bad but that got me going. I got a little too aggressive on the back nine and used driver and it didn’t go where I wanted it to go.”
With four individuals advancing to state, Oct. 13-14.