NEW CASTLE — As finishing golfers slowly trickled into the Westwood Golf Course lobby Saturday at the Hoosier Heritage Conference Championships, Annaliese Fox paced around in anticipation.
But as soon as her named was called as the low scorer of the day, Fox could finally exhale — even if she was a little surprised.
Piecing together one of the finest seasons around Hancock County, Fox is now one win away from a season trifecta. And she’s only a freshman.
Even better, New Palestine’s golf team also is one victory away from checking another item off its to-do list.
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After winning Hancock County titles last week, Fox and New Palestine used another productive day on the course Saturday to take home its fourth piece of hardware this season — an HHC championship.
It is the second consecutive conference win for the Dragons, who also won the New Palestine and New Castle Invitationals earlier this season.
It was the team’s third consecutive county team title earlier this year.
Fox’s round of 78 — mixed with junior Mackenzi Black’s second place finish (79) — helped New Palestine shoot its lowest score of the season, a 348. Fox’s total Saturday also was a season-best for the rookie.
She has posted a 38 on nine holes this year, too, and said she and Black are usually neck and neck at meets, which has helped push her in practice.
“It feels a little surprising (to win),” Fox said. “It was kind of different seeing me win both times. The greens are really difficult to judge here. It takes a lot of effort to not get mad at yourself.
“I hit my irons really well today. I got up and down a lot and that’s what helped.”
Dragons head coach Gregg Greene said the greens at the course in New Castle have smaller surfaces than usual, which proves difficult for inexperienced players. The team posted a 350 at Westwood earlier this season but improved by a few strokes Saturday despite the more difficult putting conditions.
“The conference in golf has been really good, although this year it seems to be a little down,” Greene said. “But we are still happy to win. We spent the end of last week and this week on short shots and scoring. I also looked at a lot of our stats to see what we needed to work on.
“We talked about working towards the postseason. (Annaliese and Mackenzi) work hard and are both serious about their game.”
Pendleton Heights finished in second on Saturday while New Castle was third. Greenfield-Central finished in sixth and Mt. Vernon was eighth.
The Dragons also had two golfers make the all-conference honorable mention team (ninth through 15th place finishers). Payton Hill finished in 11th with a 94 while Cassidy Harp recorded a 97, which was good enough for 14th.
“Cassidy got off to a great start,” Greene said. “Payton was in a difficult group in the match. It’s tough when you are dealing with outside things. I was just glad it didn’t involve our kids. We were doing it the way you should.”
Greenfield-Central, which shot a 433 on the day, was led by Megan Garner’s round of 94 for 10th place. Lindsey McCord was right behind her in 12th with a 96 as both made the honorable mention team.
Also for the Cougars, Amanda Edwards finished with a 121 while teammates Phoenix Breese and Rose Gerard tied with scores of 122.
Mt. Vernon sophomore Charlie True had a high fever on Saturday and was unable to participate, according to Marauders head coach Aaron Shewman.
Missing their No. 1 golfer and potential medalist, Mt. Vernon shot its highest round of the year, a 450.
Ava Hampton led the team with a round of 106. Katie Davis wasn’t far behind with a 109 while Savannah McKemie fired a 114. Lily Hampton (121) rounded out the team’s scoring. Morgan Hear also participated and shot a 141.
True, who finished 11th overall at the state meet as a freshman, missed practice on Friday before the meet.
Area golfers will compete in the IHSAA State Tournament beginning this weekend. Greenfield-Central, New Palestine and the Marauders will play at the Mt. Vernon Sectional at the Old Oakland Golf Course at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
New Palestine topped Mt. Vernon by 13 strokes last season to win the title. True won the individual sectional championship with a round of 74 while Black was third with an 81.
1. New Palestine – 348
Annaliese Fox – 78*
Mackenzi Black – 79
Payton Hill – 94
Cassidy Harp – 97
6. Greenfield-Central – 433
Megan Garner – 94
Lindsey McCord – 96
Amanda Edwards – 121
Phoenix Breese – 122 (tie)
Rose Gerard – 122 (tie)
8. Mt. Vernon – 450
Ava Hampton – 106
Katie Davis – 109
Savannah McKemie – 114
Lily Hampton -121