Rece Portell’s golf game is rounding into shape each time out. Rain could not even dampen the Highland junior’s progress as she fired a season-low round of 4-over-par 40 to capture medalist honors of a triangle match Wednesday at Highland Country Club.
Portell edged out Collinsville’s Abbey Burns (42) for the match’s top golfing honors. Although the majority of Portell’s round was solid, her biggest highlight came on the sixth hole. She hit a mammoth drive which left her only about 145 yards out. Portell followed the strong drive by putting her approach shot put on the green, where she she drained the putt for a birdie.
“Rece played really well, I was so pleased with her performance,” Highland coach Gina Hirsch said. “She kept track of her putts today and she was at 16.”
Her putt total works out to be an average of less than two putts per hole.
Portell’s only hiccup cam,e on hole No. 8 when she tried to go for the green and found the water instead.
“It is not bad to be aggressive but you have to leave yourself an out,” Hirsch said. “But the big thing that I am seeing from Rece and the girls is that we are getting better each match. The was the one thing I really stressed to the girls is that if we improve each match, then we are being successful.”
Hirsch said the girls are staying late after practice and spending a lot of time on the weekends. Highland Country Club President Gary Bargetzi and his son, Brendan, have been helping some of the girls.
“Their help is really helping the strength of our team. We are so excited about the potential of this team,” Hirsch said.
Fellow junior Kayla Davis also turned in a score under 50 to record her career-best round of 48 to help the Lady Bulldogs finish second among the three teams.
“Kayla had six bogeys in her round which is something we have set as a goal,” Hirsch said. “A bogey or less is a great score. With a couple fixes on her short game, Kayla will be shooting in the mid 40s.”
Collinsville won the match with a four-player team score of 179, led by Burns’ 42. Highland was second at 201 and Civic Memorial brought up the rear at 223.
Also contributing to Highland’s team score were sophomore Audrey Wilke with a 55 and junior Gabi Berolatti with a 58.
“Audrey and Gabi struggled a little bit tonight but we just need to make a couple of adjustments on where they are playing the ball in their stance,” Hirsch said. “Both girls have been a great addition to the team and have made a impact pretty quickly.”