Eyeing state: Patriots golf team eager to qualify for state tournament

Published 8:44 pm Thursday, March 29, 2018

Four-time defending state champion Susie Stell is no longer on the Pike Liberal Arts golf team, but that doesn’t mean the Patriots aren’t finding success in 2018.

Four of the Patriot golfers have qualified for the state tournament in Troy. One more will ensure that the Patriots compete as a team.

“We have to get at least one more of the last two to qualify so we can play as a team,” said head coach Gene Ponder. “I have five pretty good golfers. They all break 100; we just have to break 360 as a team.”

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Currently, the Patriot golfers are hovering in the 80s on average.

“They are all mid-80 type of golfers, but every now and then they can shoot below that,” Allen said. “In the past, we have always had one golfer that could shoot low enough to help the golfers that shot higher. Right now, they all break 90; they have to do it on the same day.”

The Patriots have a young team that doesn’t feature a senior. Grant Wilkes, a junior, has been the low scorer in the tournaments thus for the Patriots.

With just five tournaments remaining in the regular season, the goal for the Patriots is saving as many strokes as they can.

“We have to learn to save strokes,” Allen said. “We missed qualifying Monday by two strokes as a team. When you start looking back at it, they can all figure out where I could have saved a stroke here or save two strokes there. We have to get that mentality to where we are going to save as many strokes as we can.”

The Patriots have plenty of length off the tee according to Allen. The Patriots are now focusing on their game from 100 yards out.

“You can always improve on chipping and putting,” Allen said. “In golf you play from 100 yards in. I have three of them that can hit it a mile. They are very long off the tee. We have to be able to get it up and down when you miss greens. We have to be able to adjust to different greens.”

The Patriots will make a trip to Wynlakes on Monday for their next tournament. They will then go to Selma Country Club next Thursday before hosting a match at the Troy Country Club on April 9.