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Campbell's 84 leads Sidney to second place at Gering

 

Led by Jessica Campbell's lowest round of the season, the Red Raiders golf team was the runner-up finisher in the Gering Invite at the picturesque Monument Shadows Golf Course on Tuesday.

Scottsbluff, which placed four golfers in the top eight and three in the top four, was the runnaway winner with a 326 total. Sidney came in at 360. Gering (381), Bridgeport (398) and Mitchell (441) rounded out the top five.

The 360 was Sidney's lowest team total of the season so far.

Megan Pilkington of Scottsbluff took home individual honors with a 76. Sam Rahmig of host Gering was two strokes back in second while the Bearcats Jordan York was third with an 81. Rounding out the top five sere Kim Moore of Scottsbluff (82) and Campbell (84).

In addition to Campbell's fifth-place finish, Sidney's Karson Langley medaled in ninth with an 89. Rachel Petik rebounded from her front nine 49 to post a 42 on the back and a 91 total. She finished just out of the medals in a tie for 12th. Rachel Blauert shot 96 to round out the Raiders top four. Theda Parker and Katelin Cole turned in a 98 and 100 respectively.

Despite two double bogies on the front nine and two more on the back, Campbell scored 43-41 for her 84. Her round was an impressive eight strokes better than her previous best in tournament play. Campbell, who teed off on 18 in the shotgun start, was playing in the same group as individual winner Pilkington.

"She was right there with Megan (Pilkington) the whole way," said Raiders head coach Jody O'Connnell, who followed Campbell. "If not for those double's she's competing for the win. Even if she bogies those holes she's shooting 80.

"She sees herself as a golfer now. She's learning what she's capable of," concluded O'Connell.

As a coach, O'Connell is able to talk to her players on the tees, but not while they're playing the hole. On many of the tee boxes, Coach O'Connell was able to help map out course management strategies. But the rest was up to Campbell. Her building confidence led to birdies on her final two holes and nearly the last three. She lipped out a birdie on 15.

Petik, Sidney's number one player, shot an 80 recently in the tournament at North Platte. Despite posting a 91, she was encouraged by her final two hours of work. Her backside 42 came with a three-putt on a on a green she hit in regulation and a double at the last. On the other side of the ledger she made a skillfull up-and-down out of the bunker on number 17 to save par.

"The girls I played with really helped me," said Petik who played with Rahmig and Moore. "We play with each other a lot, so we're good friends."

Summing up her day Petik gave it a positive spin, "The bad shots outweighed the good shots but the smiles outweighed the bad."

Blauert, a sophomore, turned in a 96 to mark the second time in as many tournaments her score has counted towards the team total. Always the optimist, Blauert was enthusiastic about her round.

"It was entertaining. I had a very interesting day. I even had a miracle putt to save par," she said of her 20 footer on the sixth hole. "I stayed on the fairway today for a change. I love this course, this is the best I've ever played it."

Junior Theda Parker had two firsts for the day. It was her first time competing with the varsity this season and her first time playing Monument Shadows. She didn't seem the least bit fazed by either as she came in with her best score of the year. By breaking 100 in a varsity match, she also qualifies for the Best of the West tournament, which will be held at this same venue on Oct. 2.

"I was hitting the ball better today, especially my tee shots," Parker said. "The greens were definitely fast. My putting wasn't so great. OK, but not great."

So far six Raiders have qualified for the Best of the West. In addition to Parker, Petik, Langley, Campbell, Cole and Blauert have previously qualified.

The Raiders head to Ogallala on Monday for their next match. Tee time for the shotgun start is scheduled for 9 a.m.

 

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