PRC girls golf off to a good start after top three finish

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 29, 2020

Pearl River Central’s Lady Blue Devils golf team took part in the 2020 Lady Kickoff Classic Feb. 27 and earned a top three finish.

The tournament took place at the Sunkist Country Club in Biloxi and saw the Lady Blue Devils compete against 18 other teams.

Grace Lanier, Kelsey Dill, Sophia Albasini and Madison Gay represented the Lady Blue Devils in Biloxi.

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Dill led the way by shooting an 84, including four birdies.

Her performance earned her a spot in the top 10 at number six as an individual in a pool that included 54 other players.

Head Coach Shelly Dill said she was proud of Lanier, who shot her lowest score ever with a 92, while Albasisni and Gay weren’t far behind with scores of 98 and 103 respectively.

Dill said the athletes didn’t get a lot of time to warm up due to the sheer number of athletes on the driving range prior to the start of the tournament.

However, the players were able to push through the weather and lack of warm up time to still finish in third place.

“It wasn’t only cold, it was also windy and wet. Those conditions make it really hard (on the players),” Dill said.

Expectations were high coming into the season for the Lady Blue Devils and the third place finish shows why.

To finish that well in the first tournament of the season bodes well for the Lady Blue Devils as they aim for an appearance in the state playoffs.

“Just to see them come so far this past year and get third place was such an accomplishment. To see their eyes light up was an awesome thing and it gave them encouragement,” Dill said.

Dill said the result could also serve as inspiration for the athletes as they practice.

“I was very pleased with the determination and work ethic our girls have,” Dill said.

However, there is always room for improvement and Dill said she saw some areas that need to be worked on.

The athletes’ short game, such as putting and chipping, will need some cleaning up.

“There’s a saying in golf, ‘Driving is for show and putting is for dough.’ If you can get down there, but you can’t get into that hole you’re in a pickle,” Dill said.

Those aspects are important, but the underlying theme of golf is an athlete’s mental toughness.

A bad shot could ruin a player’s mindset, so Dill said she’s teaching her athletes to not get down on themselves if they don’t hit a ball where they want it to go.

Golfers have to be able to forget a mistake and move on to the next shot, which is what Dill is trying to teach her athletes.

“That is such a critical thing. Once they have a bad shot, they have to have the mindset that, ‘This is an all new shot. I have to do better, that’s in the past,’” Dill said.

The Lady Blue Devils will get to work improving in those areas before they take on Picayune in a tournament that’ll take place March 6 at the Millbrook Golf and Country Club.

The tournament is set to start at 3 p.m.