In what Crawfordsville and North Montgomery golfers consider a tune-up round for the Sagamore Conference at the Crawfordsville Country Club, Athenian senior Bailey Mittal fired a personal best score Saturday afternoon at the Southmont Invitational.
Mittal’s 89 tied for the second best score of the tournament, and was seven strokes better than her score of 96 last Monday at Harrison Hills.
“I felt like I played a lot better personally,” she said. “and I feel like I know the Country Club pretty well. I thought I had a really good back-nine which kind of saved me.”
Mittal hopes the confidence will carry her when the Athenians return to the Country Club for the SAC meet in September.
“I think it is very important to have a practice round, so you know the course and you know where to hit and what holes are more difficult,” she said.
Overall, the Athenians improved their 18-hole round score by 24 strokes — shooting a 430 to claim sixth-place at the invitational.
“The real story is the front nine/back nine,” Crawfordsville coach Tony Thomas said. “After seven holes on the front it did not look good, but on the back they all turned around.”
Evie Redding shot a 106, while Gwyn Redding fired a 109. Freshman Carli Payne carded a 126 in her first varsity match.
Thomas attributed the improvement from the Athenians round at Harrison Hills to a better approach shot.
“The day after we played at Harrison Hills,” he said. “that’s all we did was hit that second shot, and we played pretty well at Fountain Central (Thursday).”
North Montgomery shot a 451 to place seventh, breaking a tie with Southmont, who also fired a 451.
Morgan Swick led the Chargers with a 106, while Grace Shrader shot a 113, and Hannah Littell fired a 115. Ella Stultz shot a 117 and Maggie Yeager a 119. The round was North Montgomery’s first meet of the season.
“We did a lot of things good, and we did some things bad, but it’s always nice to get out and actually play,” North Montgomery coach Nick Johnson said. “I think for the girls it’s been a long offseason, we didn’t get to utilize the offseason. I thought their attitudes were good, and you couldn’t have asked for a better day on the golf course.”
Johnson says the Chargers have a long way to go in working on their short game to make up for lost time on the course during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s the short game and putting,” he said. “Usually the first to go in my experience, and if you don’t work on it, it takes some time. So going forward we know that shots from 100 yards in, we really need to work on.”
Southmont junior Taylor Grino paced the Mounties with a 92, while Macie Shirk fired a 102. Hannah Long fired a 127, while Courtlyn Carpenter shot a 130, Olivia Gray a 131, and Stella Snook a 132.
“She (Grino) is hitting off the tee much better,” Southmont coach Bill Whalen said. “Every shot I saw was straight and long and it made a big difference.”
While the Mounties have a home course advantage for their own invite and ultimately the SAC meet, Whalen knows there’s plenty of room for improvement.
“Our chipping and putting is just not good right now,” he said. “It just comes with experience and it comes with playing. Once we get the short game down better, I think we are going to see our scores improve drastically.”
Crawfordsville returns to the course on Wednesday at McCutcheon, while North Montgomery travels to South Putnam today, and Southmont travels to Hulman Links Golf Course in Terre Haute to take on Terre Haute North this afternoon.