Lady Panthers Three-Peat as Southwestern Conference Champions

By Nick Miller

Three days after finishing fourth in the 17 team Pekin Invitational, on Tuesday the Lady Panthers took full advantage of a change in determining the Southwestern Conference golf championship by coming back from a one shot deficit to win the conference championship by a whopping 27 strokes over second place Edwardsville. 

With the conference championship now being determined by the aggregate score of two separate tournaments, the Lady Panthers were led by medalist Brianna McMinn who followed up the school record 67 she shot at Belk Park with a 73at Far Oaks. McMinn’s two round total of 140 easily outdistanced her nearest competitor by 18 strokes. Dylan Kirchoff and Kelly Short finished tied for 6th with a two round score of 173 while Chloe Davidson, aided by a personal best round of 77, finished 8th with a score of 174. 

“The girls played fantastic, to shoot a team score of 319 at Far Oaks is outstanding. It was great to have five very solid rounds on a challenging golf course. Winning three consecutive conference championships is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the girls in the program,” Coach Chris Eddy said.

In Pekin, the Lady Panthers were led by McMinn whose 82 was good enough to tie for fourth. Rounding out the scoring for O’Fallon was Chloe Davidson with 90 and Kelly Short, Elizabeth Henken, and Sophie Koesterer all with 93. 

Coach Eddy said, “Lick Creek is always a challenging golf course with great competition that we will see at the sectional. Our girls learned and improved through this round, and this team is looking forward to finishing strong as the season winds down.”

Hot off their triumph Tuesday, the Lady Panthers blew through the field at Thursday’s Edwardsville Invitational by shooting a score of 305, one stroke off the school record. McMinn once again led the charge by shooting an even par 71 at Oak Brook to earn medalist honors. O’Fallon had three other top 10 finishers with Chloe Davidson placing fourth by matching her personal best with another 77, Sophie Koesterer placing fifth with a personal best 78, and Kelly Short placing seventh with a personal best 79. This was their eighth tournament win of the season. 

Coach Eddy said, “It is great to see a complete team effort today. We have been working on several things this season with the girls and they are starting to get more comfortable with their swing and the game plan for each course. I could not be happier with the momentum and the progress of these girls heading into the post season.”

Post season competition begins next week as the Lady Panthers travel to Arlington Greens in Granite City for regional competition.