- Val T.
Bailey shoots 86 in first prep tourney, helps Lady Zs take 3rd at Twin Lakes Invite
Barkman shoots personal best 94 for 18 holes
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
MONTICELLO — The setting at the Twin Lakes Invitational girls golf tournament at Tippecanoe Country Club Saturday gave off a summer resort vibe.
The scenic course is tucked next to Lake Shafer, and jet skiers and speed boaters whizzed by as golfers lined up their shots.
On the course, it was not so relaxing. Broiling temperatures near 90 degrees sapped players during their six-hour round. Conditions were so oppressive that some players had trouble gripping their clubs.
In addition, course employees informed coaches before the tournament that the rough had not been mowed in three weeks because they “lost” their rough mower.
Therefore, if players had trouble finding their ball in the thick second cut, they could receive a free drop and place it about where they thought they hit it.
Amidst these conditions, Rochester shot a 363 and finished third in the 17-team field.
Freshman Olivia Bailey led Rochester with an 86, Ava Thomas had a 91, Payton Moore had a 92, Delaney Barkman had a 94, and Savanah Eccles had a 111.
Winamac placed eighth with a 407. Bianca Huizar had an 88, Olivia Link had a 93, Sierra Haschel and Maggie Smith each had a 113, and Grace Wenzler had a 127.
Logansport won the tournament with a 351. Plymouth was second with a 357.
Lebanon’s Audrey Patterson was the medalist with an 81.
The standouts might have been Bailey and Barkman. Playing in the No. 1 spot in the lineup over all-conference players Thomas and Moore, Bailey finished in a tie for sixth among 88 golfers in her first prep tournament.
“I felt good about it,” Bailey said in a self-assessment. “I thought I definitely could have done better, but for the first one, it’s OK.”
Bailey, Thomas and Moore all played competitive golf over the summer. Barkman and Eccles are seniors.
“This is a group of girls that has worked really hard over the summer,” Rochester coach Chad Thomas said. “They put in a lot of hours and played in tournaments. And so I hope to see all of that come to fruition and see that as the season goes on.”
Barkman’s score was her best in an 18-hole tournament in her high school career, and her 41 on the front nine was her best ever over nine holes.
Bailey was honored to be No. 1 but added that consistency is the team’s hallmark. She played in the Marshall County, Little City and Indiana Golf Association tours over the summer.
“It’s nice, but I think that all of the ranks are pretty even,” Bailey said. “I don’t think it matters if you are one or six.”
Coach Thomas said the team will need to work on iron play, including approach shots on par 4s.
“That’s where we need to get better,” he said. “A hundred yards and in and approach shots, we need to tighten up our game there, and around the greens, chipping and putting, all of them need to get better and work on that. That will be a major focus for us.”
While Rochester plays in this tournament annually, it might take on extra importance this year because Tippecanoe Country Club also hosts the sectional in which the Lady Zs will be participating. The IHSAA moved Rochester to the Twin Lakes sectional after spending the last 15 years in the Warsaw sectional.
Coincidentally, Rochester players were paired with players from Logansport and Winamac, two of their new sectional rivals. Logansport and Winamac finished first and second, respectively, at the 2021 Twin Lakes sectional, and both advanced to the regional.
“A ton on this course,” coach Thomas said when asked how important course knowledge will be. “Because there are a lot of tee shots where you don’t need to hit a driver on a par 4 because of the doglegs. You just want to play to a certain landing area. So we got a good idea on a couple holes what the game plan should be. We’ll come back and do a practice round toward the end of the season before sectionals because we still have some questions on some tee shots what we need to do and try some different approaches, but course knowledge will be huge here.”
Other teams in both the Twin Lakes Invitational and sectional fields included Rensselaer, who was fifth with a 377; Twin Lakes, who was ninth with a 416; and North Newton, who was 12th with a 444.
“We were longer off the tee and more accurate off the tee than the teams we played with,” coach Thomas said. “I didn’t see any of the others. Off the tee, we did OK. We still need to work on consistency though.”
at Tippecanoe Country Club, Monticello, Saturday (par 72)
Logansport 351, Plymouth 357, Rochester 363, Warsaw 364, Rensselaer 377, Lebanon 379, Harrison (West Lafayette) 398, Winamac 407, Twin Lakes 416, Benton Central 419, McCutcheon 425, North Newton 444, Lowell 457, Lebanon JV 463, Rossville 470, Twin Lakes JV 506, Northwestern (incomplete team)
ROCHESTER (363): Olivia Bailey (42-44) 86, Ava Thomas (47-44) 91, Payton Moore (48-44) 92, Delaney Barkman (41-53) 94, (Savanah Eccles (59-52) 111)
WINAMAC (407): Bianca Huizar (47-41) 88, Olivia Link (44-49) 93, Sierra Haschel (55-58) 113, Maggie Smith (58-55) 113, (Grace Wenzler (59-68) 127)