Junior tied for 18th after first of two rounds in Class 1 state tournament at Nixa. Opening 92 puts her within two shots of medal-winning level
NIXA, Mo. — Junior Hallie Jones of Chillicothe High School’s golf Lady Hornets got her third trip to state competition off to a tremendous start Monday, positioning herself to be in the thick of the battle for a top-15 finish and state medal.
CHS’ lone qualifier for the Class 1 MSHSAA Championships at the Fremont Hills Country Club course at Nixa fired a 21-over-par 92 in Monday’s coolish, windy, but dry conditions. That score left her tied with one competitor for 18th place in the individual competition, which will reward those who finish the scheduled 2-days, 36-holes event with a score among the 15 best with state medals and All-State recognition.
If she does medal, she’ll be the first CHS girl to do so since 4-times state qualifier and 3-times medalist Liz Sivill took sixth in 2011.
Based on Monday’s procedures, Jones likely will again play the Fremont Hills Country Club course’s back nine (holes 10-18) first, probably starting at either the 8:39 a.m. or 8:48 tee times. She began in the 8:48 trio Monday.
Jones’ 92 Monday had her one shot behind one player and two swings back of the players who shared the 14th-best round of the first day.
Virtually-identical weather conditions are expected for Tuesday’s final round.
As a general rule of thumb, if playing conditions are similar in the second round, scores go lower in the last 18 holes, due to players’ greater familiarity with the course and less nerves - at least at the beginning of their last round.
If that holds true this time, Jones likely would have to shave four or more shots off her first-day 92 to be in the thick of the medaling battle – both trying to overtake those in front of her and hold off any who began the second round close behind her.
Jones’ first round, begun at the 10th hole, saw her start promisingly, according to online hole-by-hole scoring details on the MSHSAA website.
After starting with a bogey 5 on No. 10, she matched par on the long, par-5 11th before bogeying the par-3 12th.
The Lady Hornet then produced the series of swings that keyed her medal contention.
On another par-5, the Midland Empire Conference champion earned her only birdie of the day at No. 13, saving her either two or three strokes from what she’d generally been shooting. Had she carded a bogey or double on that long 13th hole, she’d be two or three strokes farther back and in the mid 20s in the individual standings with almost no chance at a medal.
At only 1-over par through four holes, Jones presumably was feeling building confidence, but she was not able to use her birdie as a momentum springboard.
She double-bogeyed three of the next four holes – including the par-5 17th – before finishing her first nine on an “up” note with par on the 18th. That gave her a 45 midway through the opening day.
Once she made the turn to play the front nine, the Chillicothean encountered more difficulty, notching only one par (par-5 seventh) and no below-par numbers. She had four bogeys and four doubles in her last nine holes, shooting a 47 to complete a solid round of 92.
Among area state participants, Southwest Livingston junior Makenna Campbell – in her state debut – posted a 120, far off her recent showings.
Brookfield’s Laken Sattman was tied for 29th after one round following her 98, while teammate Demi Downey was tied for 49th out of the 90 competitors with a 108.