by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley girls golf team has had its fair share of struggles this season.
Coming into Thursday’s quad dual with Raytown, Truman and Raytown South, the Eagles hadn’t won a dual.
That changed at the par-35 Heart of America Golf Course in Kansas City as Grain Valley was led by medalist Seena Tyler, who shot a 42 as her team won with a team score of 191. Truman was second with a 202 and Raytown was third with a 222. Raytown South didn’t have enough players to qualify for a team score.
Rounding out the scoring for Grain Valley was Charli Dressen with a 46, Mallory Crane with a 48, Maya Bartlett with a 56 and Italia Haywood with a 61.
Tyler shot a season low score but thought she could have played better.
“It was definitely a good day, but I definitely could have done better if I put it together quicker,” Tyler said. “My drives were pretty solid, and I had a birdie on Hole 6.
“Double chipping is my worst nightmare. That’s what caused a lot of my extra strokes.”
It was the first time any of the Grain Valley players played at Heart of America. While the distance to the hole to the tee was short, the course was narrow, which made it challenging for the players to keep the ball inbounds.
If it was hit out of bounds, the player could drop the ball on the edge of the fringe and take a one-stroke penalty.
“You have to hit the ball straight, if you don’t, there are some penalty areas that can hurt you out there,” Grain Valley girls golf coach Randy Hughes said. “We had a few of those today. Overall, I thought the girls played well. This was our lowest team score of the year. I will take that.”
That challenge didn’t seem to keep Dressen from having her best score of the season.
“I got a little nervous on the putting but I tried to stay calm today,” she said. “But I got a lot better and kept my head down. It is a mental challenge when the course is narrow. Staying calm and focused worked for me.”
“I spoke with my parents and analyzed what I did (in a dual on Wednesday). I got some text messages before the match, and they were very encouraging. I had no expectations coming in and that helped a lot.”
Hughes said Dressen has gotten better at being consistent.
“She has struggled in her last two matches,” Hughes said. “She’ll have a couple of good shots then she will have some bad ones. But she was really consistent today. She kept it on the green and didn’t have many extra shots.”
The course did give Crane, who is Grain Valley’s No. 1 golfer, fits.
“I didn’t do very well. I was struggling to focus,” Crane said. “I went out of bounds a lot. If I can keep that under control, I can save a lot of strokes.”
Grain Valley No. 4 golfer Maya Bartlett prepares to put on hole No. 9.
Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley No. 3 golfer Charli Dressen shot a 46 to finish second on the team Thursday at Heart of America Course in Kansas City. Grain Valley won the tri dual against Raytown and Truman with a team score of 192.
Photo credit: Michael Smith