Gorgeous weather greeted the Taft High girls golf team Monday at Creekside Golf Course in Salem, but the scores weren’t nearly as favorable in an eight-team event hosted by Blanchet High School.
“We had a high team score, but many of our girls are working on fine-tuning their swings getting ready for the District tournament in a few weeks,” Taft coach Heather Hatton said. “I don’t say this often, but I’m really disappointed in their play today.”
Sophomore Sammy Halferty was an exception, however, carding a career-low 114 on the most difficult layout Taft plays on the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A Special District 2 circuit.
“We have been working hard on her tempo,” Hatton said. “She is a very powerful player. Her swing is so fast, but her tempo creates a situation where she has a tough time squaring up at impact. With a more controlled swing, and her focusing now on scoring better, she is putting herself in a position to post more competitive scores. “
Senior Maya Hatton, the team’s No. 1 player who is headed to the College of Idaho on a golf scholarship, shot 90, three shots behind Blanchet Catholic’s Katie Goodwin on her home course.
“ I’m proud of how she handled her struggles,” Maya’s coach and mother said. “It’s tough when you play at such a high level and you have a bad day, but she handled it very well. She came away with an attitude of perseverance.”
Juniors Olivia Baker and Violet Palermini both posted season-high scores, Hatton said.
“They are key players and have been working on different parts of their game in the past few weeks,” she said. “Today, I saw moments of hard work coming together.
“There is always a period of time when athletes are working on different aspects of their game and struggle, but they keep their eye on the ultimate goal of getting better. They will come through with lower scores next week.”
Hatton said sophomore Noa Stoll showed great improvement by posting a 140 in her first 18-hole varsity match in her two years with the Lady Tigers.
Freshman Grace Cawley, sophomore Hannah Weaver and senior twin sisters Jocelyn and Jorja Aguello participated Monday at the junior varsity level.
“They are showing the progress we need to see,” said Hatton, whose team returns to play Monday, April 16, at North Marion, and Thursday, April 19, when it hosts a tournament at Chinook Winds Golf Resort.
“We need to focus on scoring and positive attitudes,” Hatton said. “A few good shots here and there aren’t good enough. We need to put 18-hole rounds together.”