PREP GOLF: Tigers wrap up final day of state meet

JORDAN - After a couple of disappointing rounds on the first day of the Class AA state golf tournament in Jordan, Marshall’s two state qualifiers – Ana Schwarz and Mason Plante – decided they needed to make adjustments for the second day on Wednesday.

Attitude adjustments, that is.

When the two Tigers teed off for their final 18 holes of the season on Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course, they were more relaxed and didn’t let pressure get in the way of enjoying their experience at state.

And wouldn’t you know it, both felt they played much better once they were able to loosen up a bit.

“I think I played a lot better today than I did yesterday,” Schwarz said about her round on Wednesday. “I was with people I knew (in my group), so I was more comfortable with them. I think that helped a lot.”

“I was pretty uptight, and I shouldn’t have cared as much as I really did,” Plante said. “I mean, you care to a certain point, but being a sophomore, I need to just have fun at this point. I’ve got two more years.”

Going into the second day, Marshall’s golfers were in different places. Schwarz was tied for 38th place after shooting a 92, and Plante was in 81st place following and 86 on the first day.

Once again, Plante played first in the morning. He was hoping to just shoot better than the day before, and he got off to a much better start.

“I got off to a good start, going birdie, par, par. That got the adrenaline pumping,” Plante said about his round. “I continued until the end of the first nine holes, but then I kind of struggled.”

Despite the good opening holes, Plante ended up shooting another 86 for a two-day total of 172. He finished in 77th place.

“Going into today, he and I talked and I told him he had nothing to lose, have fun and just enjoy the experience. He just had another tough day of hitting greens. When you don’t hit greens and fairways, to get up and down is really hard.”

Schwarz played in the afternoon again, and her score did improve as she shot an 86 for a two-day total of 178. That moved her up to 31st place in the standings.

“The main thing that changed for her was just her attitude,” coach Gretchen Flynn said. “We talked a lot last night about confidence, and playing the game you want to play, not letting the little things worry you so much. From the first three holes, she settled down, had some nice shots and put in some pars. She had birdie putts on all three of those holes. That kind of boosted her confidence again.”

After her first day of state, Schwarz was aiming to beat her 172 score and 27th place finish from state last year. Although she didn’t quite accomplish that goal, she was still happy to play better on the second day.

Coach Flynn said her shots were much better, and her short game was good for the most part, too. In fact, if not for some lip outs and tough luck on the greens, “that round could have easily been a 77,” Flynn said.

“My ball striking was much better today,” Schwarz said. “It still isn’t quite where it needs to be, but it was improved. I think my short game stayed how it was yesterday, and it was good so it helped.”

Of course the best news of all is that both Plante and Schwarz will have another shot at state next year, and both are hoping to be back.

“Thinking about next year, I just expect to play in the state tournament,” Schwarz said. “I think that’s a good thing, because it will help me set my goals high for next season, and my team. My biggest goal is to bring the team here.”