The Lovell High School golf team ended their season with a second place win for the girls and a seventh-place win for the boys in the Cowboy Conference division at the Regional Tournament held in Sheridan May 9-10.
In a stunning performance, sophomore Lauren Hinckley placed first against a field of 34 girls from every 2A school in the state in her very first season competing in the sport of golf. She shot 93 on the first day and 91 on the second day.
“I knew she could do it,” said Coach Devon Parks. “I knew the scores she had put up in the past were good enough. It was just a matter of whether or not she could put them together over two days.”
The tournament in Sheridan was the only two-day event of the spring golf season. Parks said he knew Hinckley was capable of scoring well two days in a row. She just hadn’t had the opportunity to prove it yet. A greater challenge for her was learning the rules, he said.
“One of the things we really focused on the week before the competition was the rules of competition,” said Parks. “Since she had never competed before she needed to learn the rules in order to improve her score. So we focused a lot on the rules and format of the competition, because any bad rounds she had in previous tournaments resulted from her not knowing the official rules. Once we cleared those up, she had more confidence and could make better decisions. As a result, she played very well on both days.”
Cassie Colvin also played in the competition with a score of 110 on the first day and 112 on the second day. Although the girls were short one player to compete as a team, they were ranked second overall because there was only one school represented in the entire tournament with enough girls to qualify as a team.
The tournament was divided in two divisions. Hinckley and Colvin were ranked seventh in the “Cowboy” division, for girls from schools in the northern part of the state.
Parks said he looks forward to working with the girls again after they have had a summer of practice. Since Hinckley is active in volleyball as well, Parks said she will have to face some tough decisions in the fall regarding which sport she chooses to play. He said he would like to see her choose golf, of course.
Although none of the boys placed in the top 10 statewide, they did have some impressive showings in the boys Cowboy division, where McKay Baxendale placed ninth and CJ Murphey placed 10th.
Baxendale shot 86 on the first day and 94 on the second day. Parks said the first day was “the best round of his life.”
“He’s improving a lot and we’re not seeing him in the 100s anymore at all,” said Parks.
Murphey shot 98 on the first day and 86 on the second day, showing that he was able to rebound after a bad day with his best game.
“He was able to overcome a bad day,” explained Parks. “He regained his composure, which is important in a tournament like this.”
Freshman Hunter Tippetts scored 107 on both days.
“He can shoot better and with the work he plans to do this summer, I think we’ll see lower scores from him,” said Parks. “He is fairly new to the game and just needs more time and experience.”
Sophomore Justin Mickelson scored 114 on the first day and 113 on the second day.
“Justin is consistently starting to see lower scores,” said Parks. “He just barely got into golf last year and he also needs more time and experience.”
Although this tournament concludes the season for the young golfers, they will have an opportunity to work on their skills at a special camp to be held on the golf course at Devil’s Tower, June 17-18.
They will also share their skills at a golf camp for kids to be held June 10-11 through the Lovell Recreation Dept.
By Patti Carpenter