The O’Fallon High School girls golf team has swung to a really big start to the season after winning three events and posting solid finishes in two other tournaments.
The Lady Panthers started the season by three-peating as champions of the Goalby/Haas Invitational on Aug. 17 at St. Clair Country Club. During the round, this year’s O’Fallon squad broke the school record for the lowest nine-hole team score ever shot in a competition with a 155, which was also good enough to shatter the tournament record for the lowest team score.
“Winning the Golby/Haas Tournament to start the year is always special, as it has several local teams, and the winning team is presented the trophy by former Master’s champion Mr. Bob Goalby,” O’Fallon coach Chris Eddy said. “Another great thing about that tournament is we had girls finish 1-4 individually.”
In the tournament, Natalie Meinkoth won individual medalist honors with a 37. Briana McMinn and Emily Marrs shared second-place honors with matching rounds of 39, and Alyssa McMinn finished fourth with a 40.
Just two days later, the Panthers went on to win the 14-team Belleville East Invitational with a winning team score of 323, which was 10 strokes better than runner-up Massac County. O’Fallon was led by Alyssa McMinn, who won the event shooting 77, which was three shots to the good of second-place Millie Lawson of Massac County’s 80.
The Panthers’ other three scorers also placed among the top seven individuals, with Marrs coming home in third place with an 81, Brooke Boatman taking sixth with an 82, and Meinkoth placing seventh with an 83.
On Aug. 22, the Panthers took third place in the Midwest Shootout, which consisted of the top three schools in Missouri and the top schools south of Interstate 80 in Illinois. Alyssa McMinn and Marrs were the top two placers for O’Fallon after tying for sixth place with matching rounds of 80.
On Aug. 29, O’Fallon tied the school record with another team round of 155, which bested Southwestern Conference rival Belleville East by 41 shots in a dual match.
Brianna McMinn showed the way this time for the Panthers with a strong round of 1-over-par 37. Also posting rounds toward the team score for O’Fallon were Boatman (38), Marrs (40) and Alyssa McMinn (40).
Then on Aug. 31, O’Fallon finished second out of 20 teams at the U-High Invitational at Illinois State University’s Weibring Golf Club.
All four Panther scorers shot an 87 or better, led by Boatman and Alyssa McMinn with identical rounds of 85. Also posting scores were Marrs with an 86 and Meinkoth and Liz Boehning with matching rounds of 87.
“We have a great group of girls who have worked hard for several years,” Eddy said. “We return our top six from last year, five of those six are seniors. Alyssa McMinn, Emily Marrs, and Brooke Boatman have been a part of the team that went to the state tournament the last two seasons.”
Eddy said the team goals are to continue to improve throughout the season as the team has done for the past several years.
“We want to be clicking on all cylinders and have a lot of confidence going into the postseason,” he said. “Our team knows we are capable of winning the conference and making another trip up to state, but we know we have to continue to work hard and play well to have these things happen.”