The Highland High School girls golf team’s scheduled quadrangular match on Monday, Sept. 11 turned out to be just a dual match after Hillsboro and Greenville canceled. However, the Lady Bulldogs took advantage of the opportunity to still get to play Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River, the site Mississippi Valley Conference Tournament on Sept. 28.
Then, on Wednesday, Sept. 13, Highland won a match at Greenville Country Club to raise its head-to-head season record to 11-4.
HHS 170, Roxana 230
At Belk Park, Highland played very well, turning in a season-low team score of 170 on the par-36 front nine to finish 60 shots in the clear of host Roxana (230).
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Highland senior Rece Portell put an end to her slump to capture match medalist honors with an awesome round of 3-over-par 39.
“Rece led the way and got back to her early season form,” Highland coach Gina Hirsch said. “She had a lesson with Brendan Bargetzi, and he got her hitting the ball really well on her approach shots. She shot 39, which is a great score. When you have six pars and a sand save from a deep bunker on (hole) 4, you know you’re going to have a great round.”
Second on the scoring pylon for the Bulldogs was junior Audrey Wilke with a 42. She also converted a birdie on the par-5 seventh hole.
“When you hit the ball as far as she does, she was looking at a long eagle putt, so getting it down in two was awesome,” Hirsch said of Wilke. “The couple holes I got to watch her putting, she was spot-on with lagging up to two-putt.”
Senior Gabi Berolatti was HHS’ third scorer with a 43, which included five pars and some nicely struck drives.
“She only has a short iron onto the green on a lot of the par 4s” Hirsch said of Berolatti. “If we can get that putter hot, she will be in the upper 30s.”
Rounding out the scoring for Highland was junior Kennedy Klucker with a 55.
“I think this was Kennedy’s first time scoring in a varsity match; how exciting,” Hirsch said.
HHS 203, Greenville 214, Mater Dei 218, Vandalia (no team score)
Portell again showed the way to the win after earning medalist honors with a 44.
Also scoring for the Bulldogs were Wilke and Berolatti with matching rounds of 51, and Budwell with a 57.
“It was a rather ugly night of golf,” Hirsch said. “We played at Greenville Country Club, where they had rolled the greens for a tournament at the club the week before. Before we went off, I told them to take their approach shots short of the green and just let them roll, because we knew the speed was going to be quick. Well we aimed for the greens, and we couldn’t get them to stick. I changed balls and gave them a softer ball to compensate for the greens, but it didn’t help. We had too many putts and had to punch out from too many trees. This was our team high, but we still managed to eke out wins.”