GREENFIELD — The goal has been three-pronged for the New Palestine girls golf team since the start of the season. After Saturday, the Dragons now only have one more left to go.
Behind four sub-100 scores led by Annaliese Fox, who earned medalist honors with a 77, the Dragons added a third straight Hoosier Heritage Conference championship to their list of accolades this year with sectional play less than a week away.
“I think this helps us focus on sectional,” Fox remarked. “We’ve been playing well as a team and with us having God on our side helps a lot. He’s a big part of our lives.”
Consistency was essential for the New Palestine during the six-hour round held at Hawk’s Tail of Greenfield, especially Fox, who repeated as the meets individual champion.
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Fox shot a 78 as a freshman last year, and nearly sliced her total by four strokes before settling on a one-swing improvement.
A bogey on her final hole didn’t sit well with Fox, she admitted, but it did little to disrupt her second-best 18-hole score on the year. Her season low stands at 74, which she shot at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel during the State Preview last month.
“I hit the ball really well. I started off pretty well, took some bogeys, but I came back and on 14, I hit the pin from 190-plus yards out,” Fox said. “I parred one of the par 5s and then birdied the rest of them. I think that’s what kind of helped out.”
Fox went on to par nine holes and birdied two to overcome six bogeys, including a double bogey on the seventh hole.
“I think for once I’ve been more consistent than I have been. I’ve been striking the ball a lot better, and I think the one thing about it is I’m not getting upset with myself as much anymore,” Fox said.
The Dragons thrived one through four, securing three All-HHC spots with the top-8 golfers recognized, and had four in the top-nine. Izzy Gray, who shot a 96, just missed all-conference honors due to a tiebreaker.
Senior MacKenzi Black, an IPFW recruit, locked down her All-HHC position with an 83, securing an individual 1-2 placement for the Dragons for a second straight year.
Regina Olsen had a 95 to place seventh overall. Gray was ninth, while Abby Belgin shot a 107.
“It’s always hard to win these, but I thought we played very well today overall. We had all four of our scores that counted under 100, and one and two in the conference, again,” Greene said. “That’s pretty impressive.
“I was a little nervous about today just because Greenfield can be strong here, and you never know in golf.”
The Dragons fended off Greenfield-Central during the nine-hole Hancock County Tournament late last month on the same course 174-209. At the 18-hole New Palestine Invitational, again at Hawk’s Tail, the Cougars were fourth with a 392.
The Dragons 351 at conference was their second-best team score this year behind a 348 at their won invitational. Greenfield-Central turned in a 394 at conference to finish second overall.
“They got better as the day went on, which really was key,” Greenfield-Central head coach Russ Wiley said. “Can you stay focused for six hours and not just give up after the first two or three holes after you have a tough start? They did, and that makes all the difference.”
The difference makers were Haley Hoagland and Caroline Gibson, who shot a 94 and 92, respectively, for All-HHC honors. Lindsey McCord was honorable mention with a 97. Phoenix Breese and Rose Gerard both scored 111s to push the Cougars ahead of third-place Delta at 399.
Shelbyville was fourth with a 423. Mt. Vernon was seventh at 434 led by Ava Hampton’s 103.
“The course was hard today, literally hard. It caused a lot of three and four putts,” Wiley said. “We played out here two weeks ago, and it was a lot different, but the work they put in to get down to 111 helped a bunch.
“I still feel like they can get a little bit better. It we can all just play well the same day, that’s the key.”
The Dragons are following their pattern of progression, improving as the season narrows towards the postseason. New Palestine is shooting for a potential fourth straight sectional title this Saturday at Old Oakland.
“The sectional streak is really big for us. I think with the mindset, if we go in like we have with county and conference, it will set us on the right track if we shoot well,” Fox said.
Hoosier Heritage Conference Girls Golf Meet
Team Scores: New Palestine 351, Greenfield-Central 394, Delta 399, Shelbyville 423, Pendleton Heights 425, New Castle 430, Mt. Vernon 434, Yorktown 455
Medalist: Annaliese Fox, New Palestine 77 (par 73)
All-HHC: Annaliese Fox (NP) 77, MacKenzi Black (NP) 83, Annie Gillock (NC) 87, Sarah McDowell (D) 92, Caroline Gibson (GC) 92, Haley Hoagland (GC) 94, Regina Olsen (NP) 95, Danielle Tinsley (PH) 96
HHC Honorable Mentions: Izzy Gray (NP) 96, Lindsey McCord (GC) 97, Kristin Fowler (D) 97, Bella LaPierre (Y) 99, Kiersten Maxwell (PH) 100, Haley Bennett (D) 101, Daniela Joseph (S) 102