Patriot golf team places fifth at state
Jun 29, 2018 02:59PM
● By Greg James
The Patriot golf team captured fifth place at the 3A state golf tournament. (Photo courtesy of Brett Armstrong)
By Greg James | [email protected]
A little golf team built from scratch three years ago vied for the girls 3A state championship.
The Providence Hall girls golf team placed fifth, and junior Morgan McDougal finished ninth overall.
“I had never picked up a club before my freshman year,” McDougal said. “I went in after tryouts that year because my dad wanted me to. I enjoy it because it is a sport that you can constantly push yourself to be better. I like being part of the team.”
The coaches educate the players on rules and technique every season.
“We watch these boring rules videos, and he gives us a giant packet we need to study and take quizzes,” McDougal said. “It takes awhile to get the hang of the rules. Getting my swing down is tough too.”
Experience level on a high school team can vary.
“A large majority of girls on the team had never touched a golf club before,” head coach Brett Armstrong said. “The biggest thing we do is be dedicated to practice, and they come out on a regular basis. We have approached things knowing that we can teach anything but attitude. Girls even without much experience with the right attitude and are willing to learn.”
The Patriots golf team had 10 members this season. Armstrong has been the team coach for three years. He coaches alongside his father, Marv Armstrong, and his wife, AJ. Three years ago, when the team was organized, they struggled to find six girls to participate.
“I felt like we had just the right number of girls on the team,” Armstrong said. “Any more than that it gets tough to give them the coaching that they need. I have seen teams with more, but then it can get difficult.”
The team won its region championship their first two seasons in existence. They were the first region titles in school history. This season the team moved into Region 14 in the 3A classification.
In their first region match of the season, Providence Hall finished fifth out of six schools. The girls constantly improved as the season progressed. The team decided it needed to put extra time in practicing to get better.
As the final regular season tournament began the team sat third overall, 29 strokes back. Freshman Kylie Nguyen, playing in her first varsity match, posted her season best score and vaulted the team to second overall, just three strokes out of first.
“There were players in region that would post better scores individually, but we always had girls that would step up with a low score when we needed it,” Armstrong said.
McDougal and several other players have worked on their game and plan to play tournaments this summer to keep improving.
“Morgan came in as a freshman that had never played,” she said. “Her and Brooklyn (Armstrong) have played the top positions on the team since they were freshman. I felt we were the underdogs going into the season. Amelia Pederson also played very consistently all season.”
Brooklyn finished fifth in Region 14; McDougal was seventh. Brooklyn had a severe wrist injury in the team’s final region match. It was doubtful she could even play at the state tournament.
“Morgan (McDougal) really stepped up for us at state,” Armstrong said. “She knocked seven strokes off her previous best score and shot an 85. She finished ninth overall. Both Morgan and Brooklyn were co-captains and will be back next year. They led the way for us.”
Senior Avery Jackson held the third position for the team. McDougal and Brooklyn were picked second team All-State; Jackson was honorable mention.
“We encourage the girls to play throughout the summer,” Armstrong said. “I know most of them have county passes and use them. They play in some tournaments and get some private instruction too.”