SCHS Girls golf team on a roll with 9-0 record

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By John Shindlebower

The eyes of the golfing world will be on Louisville’s Valhalla Golf Club this week for the 2008 Ryder Cup, but the Spencer County Girls golf team is making news of their own with a perfect 9-0 mark going into the final weeks of the season.

On Monday, the girls outshot the squad from Fort Knox, posting a 189-247 win over the visitors at Tanglewood Golf Course. It was the Lady Bears’ ninth straight victory and coach Luke Penrod said team balance has been one huge key to their success.

“I’ve got a lot of talented girls out here,” he said, explaining that there’s only about a three stroke difference between the girls. He said on some days, one girl will set the pace with the low score, and then the next week, it will be another player.

That kind of balance is crucial in high school golf, where the scores of the top four competitors are compared among teams. Because Spencer County’s team only has four golfers competing this year, there’s not much room for error.

Playing on their home course on Monday also helped. Penrod said that can usually account for about a 20 stroke advantage, but then when they hit the road, it’s a obstacle they have to overcome.

This year’s squad is made up of juniors Kaelin Russell, Chelsea Gross and Whitney Lyons, and lone senior, Kara Ball. Fellow junior Ashley Wiley is sitting out the season because of a shoulder injury, but Penrod said next year’s senior-laden squad should be formidable as well.

Penrod said all the girls shoot in the mid 40s for a nine-hole match, and said a high school girl who can average a round in the mid 80s for 18 holes, is likely to have a chance to play in college. Ball’s sister, Lauren, a 2008 graduate of Spencer County High School, actually is playing golf at Campbellsville, and Penrod sees the same potential among players on his team now.

But the more immediate future is in finishing out the season and moving onto postseason play. Penrod said the Lady Bears happen to compete in a difficult region, with three of the past state champions – Central Hardin, North Hardin and Elizabethtown, standing in the way of Spencer County and even greater accomplishments.

This year’s regional tournament will be at Fort Knox, and Penrod said his girls are traveling to the course there later this month for a practice round of 18 holes. That will help them become familiar with the course, which could be a great help as they try to advance in region play.