For the first time in a Middle Border Conference girls golf meet all season, the Prescott Cardinals didn’t finish in first place as a team. The Saint Croix Central Panthers, led by junior Sally …
For the first time in a Middle Border Conference girls golf meet all season, the Prescott Cardinals didn’t finish in first place as a team. The Saint Croix Central Panthers, led by junior Sally Vangsness, finished in first place at the Bristol Ridge conference match in Somerset on Monday, Sept. 13.
At the aforementioned Bristol Ridge girls golf meet, the Panthers finished with a total team score of 173. The Prescott Cardinals’ final score was 177. Vangsness’ 37 (+1) led the charge for the Panthers in their first conference victory of the season. Her 37 was also the best score for all players at the Bristol Ridge meet, edging out Prescott’s Ava Salay who shot a 38.
Although Vangsness finished only one over par, her round didn’t get off to the best start. The shotgun-style meet meant that Vangsness started on hole five, a 420-yard par five with tight fairways and woods on both sides of the rough throughout the hole. She made bogey on the fifth hole and then also bogeyed the 343-yard par four sixth hole. Vangsness reflected on the tough start to the round.
“I started bogey-bogey and I was pretty disappointed because I had two good drives and I just couldn’t convert on my approaches,” Vangsness said after the round. “I really pulled it together on seven. I hit my approach shot to about one foot and birdied. On eight I left (my tee shot) just short, which I was trying to do and made birdie.”
After making back-to-back birdies on holes seven and eight, Vangsness was back to level par for the tournament and was making a charge. She made par on nine and then birdied hole one after nearly pouring in a 35footer for eagle on the short 363-yard par five that is easily the most scorable hole on the front nine at Bristol Ridge. Vangsness’ prolific driving ability allows her to attack par fives in ways that most other competitors can’t.
“(Driving distance) is an advantage if I hit it straight,” Vangsness said. “It sprays a lot more than normal. When it does spray, I’m focusing on converting on my misses. Being able to hit approaches from the rough or under a tree or hitting flighted wedges a lot better. I focused on that a lot this summer.”
Vangsness made bogey on her final hole of the meet, moving her total score to 37. As for Salay, her round got into trouble on the sixth hole when she hit her tee shot left into the woods. After chipping out and missing the green on her approach shot, she wasn’t able to get up and down. Her double bogey at the par four sixth was the difference between winning the meet and finishing second to Vangsness.
The battle between the Prescott and Saint Croix Central girls golf teams has been among the only constants of the Middle Border Conference golf season. Their consistency throughout middle border action has been documented through the first several weeks of the Golf Coaches of Wisconsin 2021 girls golf rankings.
According to those coach polls, Prescott is the best team in the state for Division II, and Saint Croix Central is ranked as the second- best team in the state, also for Division II. Their consistency on the course has both schools ranked over other places like The Prairie School, Lancaster and Wisconsin Dells, the other three schools rounding out the top five.
Ellsworth Country Club meet
The battle for supremacy in the Middle Border Conference continued on Thursday, Sept. 16, at the Ellsworth Country Club. The meet began at 4 p.m. and again featured Saint Croix Central and Prescott battling for first place.
Prescott came out firing on all cylinders, perhaps trying to rebound from the meet at Bristol Ridge on Tuesday afternoon. At the Ellsworth meet the entire Prescott roster was on their game. The Cardinals posted four scores of 42 or better to win first place, something that second-place Saint Croix Central didn’t have a single player accomplish.
Prescott’s scores included Salay’s 37, Liz Rohl’s 39, Rhi Stutz’s 42, Jessica Heinsch’s 42, Finley Magee’s 44 and Maddie Reiter’s 47. Taking the four best scores, Prescott shot a team total of 160, beating Saint Croix Central by 22 shots.
As a team, the Ellsworth Panthers had its best showing of the entire year, finishing third overall for the meet with a total score of 220. Scores for Ellsworth consisted of Kayley Bayer who shot 51, Katie Gillespie’s 53, Shelby Lawler’s 55, Aaliyah Huppert’s 61, Macy Hugare’s 64 and Gabby Mc- Chane’s 66. Ellsworth’s effort at the home course was good enough to post a score better than Amery, Somerset, Osceola and Baldwin-Woodville.
Prescott, Saint Croix Central and Ellsworth are all hitting their strides less than one week before the Middle Border Conference Championship is played. That 18-hole tournament will be played at Krooked Kreek Golf Course in Osceola on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 9 a.m.