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North Harrison's Julia Campbell chips from off the green on No. 6 at Old Capital Golf Club. Photo By Brian Smith

Fresh faces on the links

August 28, 2019
From what club to use or how to score, there are some newbies teeing the ball up for the Corydon Central and North Harrison golf teams this fall.

Aug. 15 prompted ideal playing conditions with a slight breeze and partly sunny skies at Old Capital Golf Club for the first match held at the home course of Corydon Central and North Harrison.

Sydney Cook, paced by a pair of pars (No. 2 and 7), along with a birdie on No. 5, led the senior to medalist honors. Cook shot a 45. She was followed by senior teammate Emily Harbaugh, who was one stroke behind with a 46.

Both are key returnees for the Lady Panthers, who shot a team score of 202 to defeat North Harrison (239) and an incomplete Salem team.

"We have two seniors leading the team, with Sydney and Emily," Corydon Central coach Eric Rowland said. "They are starting to hit the ball well, but the season is still early. We want to keep it up."

Cook and Harbaugh were members of the regional qualifying team a season ago. The Lady Panthers lost three starters to graduation off that squad.

The good news for Corydon Central and North Harrison is the interest in girls' golf. There are plenty of players showing interest in the sport.

"We have six girls who had never touched a golf club before our first practice," North Harrison coach Rob Higdon said. "A few of them have a lot of athletic ability. Skylie (Burns) and (Halle) Baumgardner are really athletic, along with (Blaine) Whittaker. It's about getting them to understand the game and what it takes to achieve certain things on the course."

Will it take all year to get the younger players up to speed? Most likely, said Higdon.

"Maybe not this year, but the next few years, if they stick with it, we will see a lot of good progress," he said.

Alexis Blessinger returns for her third season at North Harrison. She had a slow start at the Aug. 15 match, but rallied to earn pars on holes No. 1 and 3 to close with a team-best 53. Julia Campbell played in some matches and tournaments last season for the Lady Cats and returns for her second go-around. She finished with a 64.

"Alexis can hit it," Higdon said. "Alexis has some experience and can help out. Julia has one year of experience, but didn't play a lot last year. They all seem to love the game, and that's the good part of coaching them. I'll keep working with them and do the best I can."

Rounding out North Harrison's scorers were Baumgardner (61), Whittaker (61), Kenzie Koch (69) and Burns (70).

Among the newbies for Corydon Central is Abby Russel, who shot a 54 in her first home match. Paige Richardson came in with a 57, while Chloe Cannon had a 58. Allie Harbaugh chipped in on No. 9 to highlight her round, closing with a 69.

"We have seven new golfers," Rowland said. "There is one junior in Paige Richardson. She started playing a couple days before practices after showing interest in playing. She's our No. 3 right now. She's taken a few lessons before and has been playing well."

Rowland said they each are coming along. Cannon has been sighted with a strength of always moving the ball forward and learning to score. Russel has been working to find her drive off the tee box become more consistent.

"We shot around 240 the other day, so today (202) was a big jump," Rowland said. "Playing at home helps."

Golfers for both teams will enjoy the comforts of home come postseason as Old Capital is set to host the sectional in mid-September.

Corydon Central 202 (Sydney Cook 45, Emily Harbaugh 46, Abby Russel 54, Paige Richardson 57, Chloe Cannon 58, Allie Harbaugh 69); North Harrison 239 (Alexis Blessinger 53, Julia Campbell 64, Halle Baumgardner 61, Blaine Whittaker 61, Kenzie Koch 69, Skylie Burns 70); Salem INC (Minton 55, Roll 70).

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