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Crawford, NH golfers show youth in first match

Crawford County junior Carolyn Pellman lofts this tee shot within 16 inches of the cup for an eventual birdie on the second hole in her first match with the Lady Pack golf team, against North Harrison. “You’ve got to keep your head in it even if you hit a bad shot,” she said. Photo by Wade Bell
August 19, 2009
"Really nervous."

That's how Crawford County junior Carolyn Pellman described her first golf match with the Lady Pack, who went up against a short-handed North Harrison. The Lady Pack and the Lady Cats are beginning the 2009 season with a group of young, inexperienced players, but both expect better things as the season goes along.

"There were a lot of nervous jitters," Crawford County coach Eric Belcher said. "I expected some 60's and 50's."

"It was the whole first match thing," Pellman said. "A couple of weeks ago, I was playing really well. I was shooting the high 40's, then today I came out and shot a 62. I wasn't very happy about that. It'll get better."

The Lady Cats are in a major rebuilding year after graduating three players from the team, including All-State standout Allison Dooley.

"It hurt a lot," sophomore Sara Lang, who has played since the sixth grade, said. "Last year, we were undefeated in the regular season, (Mid-Southern Conference) champs, sectional champs; we were doing so good. Then, three of our kids graduated — Allison (Dooley), Courtney (Barr) and Cindy (Garrison) — all of them graduated, then two of our kids quit. So, it went from all these great people to no one.

"(Freshman) Devin (Smith) is coming out, and she's really good. The seniors have never played before, and, hopefully, we can get some other kids in. It's really different not doing well this year."

"We've just got two today," North Harrison coach Robert Higdon said. "Devin Smith will be joining us. She's got the capability of being as good as Allison Dooley. She was in (freshman) orientation today. I'm hoping to get some other girls out to play, too."

The nerves were apparent on the opening hole at the Old English Golf Course, but on the second hole, Pellman got her tee shot within just 16 inches of the pin on the par-3 11th hole on the course. Pellman tapped the ball in the cup for her first birdie of the new season.

"That was pretty exciting," a smiling Pellman said. "I've never birdied that hole before."

Pellman also got herself out of a bad situation on the 17th hole after she put her second shot into a field of tall weeds. The Crawford County junior escaped with a shot that put her on the edge of the green and feeling much better about the situation.

"I was in really tall weeds and took a couple of practice swings, then I got it out across the ditch," Pellman said. "I was pretty happy about that. I was right on the fringe."

Lang finished with a round of 54 for the day, the low for the match. The North Harrison sophomore took the day in stride.

"It's not the best, but for as little as I've been playing this year, I thought I did OK," Lang said. "Some of the holes were pretty good, but right in the middle there for about three holes, I couldn't hit it worth anything. It was horrible. But, all in all, I thought it was an OK day."

Senior Kelsi Brunner was playing in her first match as a Lady Cat golfer and found the game and course a little intimidating.

"It was very nerve-wracking, but it was fun," Brunner said. "The course (was intimidating) because I've never played it before."

Brunner finished with a round of 63 for the nine holes. Lang said Brunner has improved considerably since the season began.

"For only playing one summer for three weeks, she's doing very well," Lang said of her teammate.

"I started off bad, but I seemed to get better," Brunner said. "Hopefully, I'll keep on getting better. … I have to learn patience and keep learning the game and all the rules. I don't know many rules yet. It's going to make me be more patient and observant in other sports."

Pellman said she's learned that golf is a complete mental game and she can't let anything get to her, especially emotions.

"It played with my head," Pellman said. "I got down on myself a lot, but I'll learn to get better as the season goes on. You've got to keep your head in it, even if you hit a bad shot. You've got to come back with the next one and be all right with it. That's something I've got to work on. As the nerves come out, I think I'll do better."

Lang said she is just hoping to see a full team for North Harrison and the group becoming competitive as the year goes along.

"In the middle school next year, we should have a few girls coming in," she said. "There's a lot on the middle school team, so we should have quite a few girls coming in that are pretty good. So, hopefully, we'll get others and get a team together."

Crawford County- 199

(Pellman 62, Kitchens 63, Forbes 65, Jellison 69)

North Harrison - No Team Score

(Lang 54, Brunner 63)

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