August 28, 2013The Crawford County Lady Pack golf team put a 'W' in the win column Thursday afternoon, swinging past the visiting Lady Raiders of Southridge by a 20-stroke margin, 229-249. Crawford County junior Shelbi Cook shot a personal best of 44 to finish as medalist, with Southridge senior Taylor Seufert two strokes behind at 46, also a personal best.
"We've gone a couple of years without very many of those because we were playing young kids and also some girls that had not played golf before," Crawford County coach Mike Brown said. "Now, we have three veterans; Cook and Tiffany King and Jescee Shelton have all played before. Then, we've got Stephanie Johnson, who's going to be a good player, who's just a freshman. We didn't have her today, but Bree Tyler is a freshman that's playing five for us that's going to be alright."
This putt by Crawford County junior Shelbi Cook goes in for a birdie, with Cook finishing with a personal best 44 against Southridge. The Lady Pack won the dual match 229-249. Photo by Wade Bell
Both Cook and Seufert got off the tee box well in their early holes, but Cook was getting more distance, in most cases 30 to 50 yards farther on her drives. One reason for that was a new set of custom clubs made just for her height and arm length.
"It's made a huge difference," Cook said. "I would say the better the clubs the better you're going to play. I got custom-made clubs this year to fit me and it definitely helped a lot compared to my old ones. The weight of it, the shaft, everything changes, and it's just a lot better. They're made for me to where I can hit."
"I definitely tried to make sure those were straight and keep them out of the woods and make sure I get every shot straight to the hole," she said. "I just try to par each one. My driver, I can usually hit that pretty far along with my irons, a lot farther than most of the girls."
"She needed new clubs, and she waited to get those 'til she was done growing, which was a good time," Brown said. "She's starting to get used to them, and she's putting more practice in than she used to. She's taking it a little more serious now, and that kind of feeds off itself. When you do well, you want to practice more."
Seufert was disappointed with not being able to get the same distance as Cook and had to readjust her game to make up for it.
"My drives I wasn't really happy with because they just don't have the distance that I'd like," the Southridge senior said. "But I had some pretty good putts and I've been working on that, so I think that was probably my best part, my short game."
Cook's best hole came on the par four No. 9 where she blasted her tee shot 50 yards farther than Seufert. Her second shot stopped just three feet from the pin, allowing Cook to finish with a three.
"I told her before we started this year, 'You're not the freshman now,' " Brown said. " 'You're the junior. You're the one that has to lead everybody else and set a good example as far as your demeanor on the course, how you go about practice and everything.'
"She's done a good job of that. It's her time to step up and get in the 40s. She's worked pretty hard for it. If she can get there and we can get our other two veterans close to the 50s, we'll be alright most nights."
One other thing that helped Cook's game was playing in the Mountain Dew tour over the summer against players as strong or stronger than her. The Crawford County junior saw her confidence level go up while her scores came down.
"I played against girls that are very good, shooting in the 70s on 18 holes, and it definitely helps you build up your confidence and keep playing during the summer," Cook said. "It also gets your name out there. That's what colleges look at. They don't care about anything else but the tournaments in the summer."
"I told her last spring, 'You're going to have to play in that if you're going to be a serious player,' " Brown said. "When we go play these schools and you see their No. 1s, they're the ones you're going to see in the summer. Now, she's recognizing that a lot."
Seufert's best hole came on No. 1, where she as well put herself in position for a birdie en route to her 46 for the day.
"This is the best I've played all season, so I'm pretty excited," Seufert said. "The best I did last year was 49. So, I'm coming back strong with that."
Besides Cook, Johnson finished second for the Lady Pack with a 58. King finished with a 62, and Shelton came in with a 65 for the nine holes.
For Southridge, Rosa Ornelas was second with a 67, while and Chloe Huff and Megan Weitkamp finished with a 68 each.
"If we went back to last year, we had a lot of matches where not necessarily would we win a three-way, but we'd finish third by a stroke or two," Brown said, "or we lost a dual by five shots. Well, that's one a player, or two a player. We're in the lead, if that's the case.
"Now, we're starting to make a few more of those and we're getting some birdies and some pars and not very many double pars. When you do that, you're going to be in contention. It's a little more fun when you win."
Crawford County 229
(Shelbi Cook 44, Stephanie Johnson 58, Tiffany King 62, Jescee Shelton 65)
(Taylor Seufert 46, Rosa Ornelas 67, Chloe Huff 68, Megan Weitkamp 68)