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  • Val T.

Lady Zs top Lewis Cass behind Thomas, Barkman, ready for Valley, Mac, Southwood Thursday


Sports Editor, RTC

Ava Thomas shot a 38 to claim medalist honors and shoot a personal best for nine holes, and Delaney Barkman also shot a personal-best 46 to lead the Rochester girls golf team to a 166-219 win over visiting Lewis Cass on the back nine at Round Barn Golf Club at Mill Creek Wednesday.

Delaney Barkman

Other Rochester scores included Payton Moore’s 40, Olivia Bailey’s 42 and Savanah Eccles’ 62. JV player Avery Brouyette also carded a 62.

The 166 was a season low for nine holes for the team.

Thomas’ round included a birdie on the par-5 12th hole and five pars.

“From the holes I saw her play, it looked like she hit her irons really well,” Rochester coach Chad Thomas said. “They were pretty consistent tonight and just an overall consistent night for her.”

Moore birdied No. 13, a par 4, and also had four pars. Bailey also had a birdie on No. 13 and sunk a 20-foot putt for birdie on No. 18.

“Tonight we had another low score for our team this year, so we’re trending in the right direction and had four really solid scores, two of them personal bests,” coach Thomas said. “So it was really good to see that, and a few of the girls, if you asked them, they probably felt like they left a few shots out there too.”

Barkman credited her driver for her round. She said she played on both the Marshall County and Little City tours over the summer to get ready for the season. The only week she took off was Fulton County 4-H Fair week.

She also credited Cameron Smith, son of Rochester grad and 1987 IHSAA boys golf state medalist Chris Smith, for some lessons.

“I went down to Cameron Smith down at Rock Hollow, and he really got me straight this summer,” Barkman said. “When I first went, I was all messed up during the summer. And he just really made me focus on getting that club straight back and just following all the way through and being under control and controlling that club face.”

Barkman and Eccles are seniors, and they play in the Nos. 4 and 5 spots in the lineup.

“We’re really powerful this year, and the underclassmen really pull us through, but it’s just really good,” Barkman said.

This was Rochester’s first competitive match at home after Monday’s thunderstorm. Practice was canceled both Monday and Tuesday, and the course was barricaded and closed to the public Tuesday.

“The grounds crew out here did a tremendous job getting the course ready to play,” coach Thomas said. “It looked really nice out there. They had several tree limbs and branches they had to get cleaned up, and they did that as best they could. There was a sprinkling of things out there still but definitely very playable, and I know the maintenance staff worked their tails off and did a tremendous job, and the course looked great.”

Rochester will host Tippecanoe Valley, Maconaquah and Southwood in a four-way match Thursday. Rochester lost only once in a nine-hole match in August, and Valley went undefeated in nine-hole matches in August. Maconaquah is the reigning Three Rivers Conference champion and was a regional qualifier in 2021, and Rochester players are familiar with the Maconaquah players from the PGA Junior League at Rock Hollow Golf Club in Peru.

“It will be a fun, competitive match,” coach Thomas said. “Fun meaning the girls know each other and get along with each other, but yet they’re very competitive. So it will be interesting to see how everybody responds with that tomorrow.”

TRC tourney moved to Rozella Ford

The Three Rivers Conference tournament will be held at Rozella Ford Golf Club in Warsaw at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 10. Rozella Ford already hosts the TRC boys tournament in mid-May annually.

The TRC girls tournament had been held at Maple Grove Golf Course in Huntington for more than a decade before being moved this year.

at Round Barn Golf Club at Mill Creek Wednesday (back nine, par 36)

ROCHESTER (166): Ava Thomas 38, Payton Moore 40, Olivia Bailey 42, Delaney Barkman 46, (Savanah Eccles 62)

LEWIS CASS (219): Hlebasko 50, Mennen 52, Bowser 56, Taylor 61, (Landis 70)

ROCHESTER JV: Avery Brouyette 62

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