Sunday, November 2, 2014
Jeff’s Hatter medalist; Bronchos miss state cut
By Clyde Hughes, Printed in the Lafayette Journal & Courier, Sept. 27, 2014
BATTLE GROUND – Those were not tears of joy coming from Samantha Hatter’s face as she walked past some of the state’s best high school golfers to accept Lafayette Jeff Regional medalist honors Saturday evening.
The Lafayette Jeff senior’s 71 earned her a state finals berth for the second time in three years.
Hatter’s tears were for her teammates. She had learned moments earlier that No. 14 Jeff was edged for the third and final team qualifying spot for the state tournament by No. 19 Crown Point, 336-339.
Seventh-ranked Lake Central won the hotly contested regional with a 325, followed by No. 17 Valparaiso’s 330. The score really stung considering the Bronchos missed a state berth by one stroke a year ago.
“It’s good to go back to state, but it would be so much better with my teammates,” Hatter said. “It’s so heartbreaking. We all tried our hardest, but at the end of the day it wasn’t enough. That’s the sad truth.”
The truth is there was not much more Hatter could have done to help her team. Her 71 was already two strokes better than runner-up Tiffany Curtis of Crown Point.
“The one thing I did differently was a matter of confidence and staying positive the whole time and kept telling myself the same thing over and over again,” Hatter said. “I tried not thinking about what’s ahead of me but staying in the moment and that helped a bunch. I didn’t think about anything else until I came of the course.”
Central Catholic junior Morgan Brown, the sectional and City/County champion, placed third overall with a 75 and advanced to the state tournament for the third consecutive year. Brown was one of the early finishers and found herself caught in the waiting game while other golfers finished their rounds.
“I felt I couldn’t drop many birdie putts out there,” Brown said. “My main goal was to finish here and move on to state, and it’s a whole new round there.”
Brown said her strategy of concentrating on her game and not getting caught up in what other golfers are doing did not change in regional despite the level of competition being the best it has been all season.
“There’s definitely a lot of good girls here, but that doesn’t usually affect my play,” Brown said. “I think there’s a little bit more (pressure) than in sectionals, but I don’t think it’s enough to make or break a round. You just have to handle it and play your own game.”
Brown’s 37 was among the leaders at the turn and her 75 was the top score most of the day until Hatter and Curtis, who were among the last golfers to finish their rounds, posted their results.
McCutcheon, making its first regional appearance under coach Avery Boaz, finished 10th with a score of 370. Twin Lakes was 12th (378), Rensselaer 15th (405) and Benton Central 16th (407).
“It was a good experience and sad the season is over,” McCutcheon senior Aspen Rogers said. “It was a lot of hard work to get here, but I’m glad we made it. I hope all five of us seniors left a legacy for the other golfers at McCutcheon.”