By Nick Miller
The Lady Panther Golf team used its depth and a record setting round to shoot a team score of 330 and sit one stroke behind Edwardsville after the first of two conference tournaments.
Results will be combined with a final conference tournament on September 25 to determine the winner of the Southwestern Conference.
The Panthers were led again by a record setting round of -5, 67 from Briana McMinn shot at Belk Park Golf Course. The five under par round included seven birdies and two bogeys. Briana’s round overtook a record of 72 in which her sister Alyssa McMinn shot last year at the state tournament.
Coach Chris Eddy said, “Briana’s round was incredible and displays the hard work and commitment she has put into to her golf game. Briana is a great competitor and it was outstanding to see her play that well during the first conference tournament.”
The Lady Panther’s highlighted round of McMinn was exceptionally helpful as their other counting scores came from depth within the line. Dylan Kirchoff playing in the number five spot added an 85, Sophie Koester in the number four spot shot 88, and Kelly Short in the number seven spot added a score of 90.
The Lady Panthers then took their young talent up to the U-High Invitational hosted at Illinois State University Weibring Golf Course. The field consisted of 19 schools including the top five teams in the AA sectional and many highly talented class A schools.
The Lady Panthers finished in fifth place, 15 strokes behind first place U-High and five strokes out of second place. The Lady Panthers were led by a fourth place finish from Briana McMinn with a score of 79. The Lady Panthers also got scores of 87 from Elizabeth Henken, 88 from Chloe Davidson, and 91 from Kelly Short.
“This is always a great tournament with a great field. This event helps show where you stack up within the sectional and with Briana McMinn being the only varsity returner to a team that lost five seniors to graduation it was great to see the younger girls play well against great competition,” Coach Eddy said.
The Lady Panthers already winning three tournaments have goals of winning the conference championship and making their fourth consecutive state tournament appearance.