The Lady Bulldogs of St. Joseph High School in Conway brought home top honors from the 2A girls state golf tournament Sept. 27 at Glenwood Country Club. The team cruised to the team title in 276, four strokes ahead of runner-up Horatio. No other team in the 12-school field broke 300.
Senior Presli Webb shot 80 to place second in individual scoring, followed by junior Kaitlyn Kordsmeier who shot 90 for fifth in individual scoring. Avery White and Allie Evans rounded out the team’s scoring with 104 and 147, respectively.
Head Coach Mike Prall, who led the Bulldog boys team to a state title in 2018, said he knew he had a talented group of girls. The problem he saw was lack of experience and divided attention with other sports.
“I felt like we had a pretty good shot at winning it this year, but it was a little bit hard to say,” he said. “Presli Webb, my number one girl, plays volleyball so she missed quite a few of the matches this year. So, while the other three girls did well; we missed out on some wins without Presli.
“I’ve got two other girls — Avery White and Allie Evans — who are actually first-time players. They improved a lot this season from the very first match, from the very first practice. Avery played very well (at state) especially and helped considerably in our win.”
Stepping into the leadership void was Kordsmeier, who is proving to be something of a golf phenom, having only taken up the game within the last three years.
“I just practice all the time,” she said to explain her rapid progress. “It’s just kind of like a stress reliever. After school some days, I’ll just hit in my net or just go to the golf course and kind of play around.”
Kordsmeier improved so quickly she tied Webb, a two-time state medalist, at the district meet, forcing two extra holes of sudden death to declare a winner.
Watching her teammate develop gave Webb a good feeling for the team’s chances at state.
“I knew we were going to have a good shot at state this year,” she said. “K.K. (Kaitlyn Kordsmeier) was playing really well, and I knew that we had some new girls that would step up. We’ve all been practicing really hard, and I knew that as long as we all stayed focused and just had a good time out there and not get too serious with it, I knew we had a pretty good shot.”
Prall said besides the state meet offering slower greens, the championship came off without incident. While neither Kordsmeier nor Webb said they played their best golf for the whole round, it was enough to secure the school’s first state title in girls golf since 2010.
“I felt pretty good about how I was hitting my clubs, but my main struggle was definitely at the green,” Kordsmeier said. “I could not putt to save my life. I three-putted on most holes and I just learned to get around that and keep playing hole by hole.”
“Districts, I was not hitting the ball super great off the tee, but thankfully I was able to work my struggles out on the greens,” Webb said. “State, I was playing really well on the front nine while the back nine killed me. Overall, though, my ball striking has definitely improved.”
After competing in the state overall tourney Oct. 13 in which she placed fifth, Webb has her final season of high school volleyball to finish up, after which she turns her attention to choosing a college where she hopes to play golf competitively. She said winning the state team title to close out her golf career at St. Joseph’s was all the sweeter for having done it with her team.
“I think it was a fantastic way to end my senior year (in golf), and I’m so proud of everyone,” Webb said. “I think it means a lot more winning as a team than winning as an individual and I’m so happy for everyone involved. I think it reassures everyone that hard work pays off. It was such a great feeling and I was so much happier to be able to celebrate that win as a team.”
Please read our Comments Policy before posting.Article comments powered by Disqus