Emma Payne and Macey Brown both overcame some struggles to advance to the second day of the girls state golf tournament, while the Daviess County team failed to make the cut.
Payne, representing Owensboro Catholic, posted an 80 at the Bowling Green Country Club, and Apollo’s Brown was close behind with an 81. Maddi Roberts (90) also competed as an individual for the Lady Aces, but she did not make the cut.
Both Payne and Brown struggled hitting greens in regulation throughout the day, and each golfer said their putts saved them. Payne, who was in the last threesome of the morning groups, only had 27 putts on the day.
“My round wasn’t great,” she said. “There was definitely something I could have done on the front with the 42. My drives and approach shots throughout the day weren’t good. I didn’t hit many greens, but my putting saved me.”
Her lone double bogey came on the ninth hole, but she did pick up a birdie on a par 3 at the 11th.
Brown made the turn with a 40 after a double bogey on the third hole, and she said that low front nine got to her head.
“Going into the day, I just thought I was going to have a lot of fun,” she said. “Once I shot a 40 on the front, I thought I might have a chance. I got in my head and double bogeyed two in a row. I knew I had to get back into it, so I started getting back in my groove.”
After back-to-back doubles on a par 3 and par 5, she and head coach Jarrod Carter mad a goal to par out, and Brown was able to do just that.
“When she made the turn at 40, she started looking at the end really quick,” Carter said. “After four holes, we had to change. I told her we had to quit thinking about it and just get back to doing what we could do.”
Roberts played in the same threesome as Brown, and OCHS head coach Stacey Schepers said having a later tee time than her teammate didn’t phase her.
“Maddi had to wait around all day until she teed off,” Schepers said. “That can really affect your mental game, but she did not let that get to her. She came out and scored really well on a very tough course.”
Payne and Brown will play the final 18 holes of the tournament today, and they’ll start several strokes behind the leading individual score of 73. Payne said she’s not going to make any adjustments and will try to carry out her normal style of play.
“I’m thankful that I get to go to the second day,” she said. “That’s amazing. I’m going to warm up like I normally do and treat it like any other tournament. I’m just going to play my game and see where I finish. Hopefully I do even better than an 80.”
Brown said she’ll focus a little harder on certain parts of the game but is also hoping to put together a solid round.
“I need to work on my iron shots,” she said. “I thinned a lot of them. My putts were on point, so I just need to work on fairway shots.”
Daviess County’s golfers were in the last five pairings of the day, and the end of their round got delayed due to weather conditions. Holly Holton, who was in the last group, was one hole shy of finishing when the round was suspended for darkness.
The entire team had a tough time from the start of the day, and head coach Rachel Lindow said a big part of that was the length of the course. Addi Heady (92), Grace Heady (96), Kirsten Henderson (100) and Emilee Clark (103) competed for the Lady Panthers.
“Our score is not what we wanted,” she said. “It was the highest it’s been all season. The course played long for some of my girls, and that was a struggle to overcome.”
Still, she’s proud of the team and what they accomplished this season — they placed in several invitationals, won city-county, won the Apollo Invitational and won regionals to advance to state.
“Although we didn’t make it to the second round, I couldn’t be happier for my girls,” she said. “They have played so hard all season long, and they’ve come so far. My team has accomplished so much this year and I want the girls to look back on all the goals that we met. I couldn’t ask for more. I’m really proud of this group of girls.”