STATE-BOUND! Finnegan first girl golfer to qualify in 15 years News · May 24, 2013
Ashley Finnegan on Monday broke a 15-year dry spell for girls golf by qualifying for the state tournament for the first time since 1998.
Finnegan, a junior, scored 98 on 18 holes, tying for fourth place in the regional competition at Marengo Golf Club.
“I’m excited!” she said.
Head Coach Jan O’Neil said Finnegan set high goals for herself this year and met them.
“Everyone knows that Ashley is thrilled that she has advanced to the state tournament,” the coach said. “We’re so happy!”
Finnegan will compete Tuesday and Wednesday, May 28-29, in Marshalltown in a 36-hole tournament. Each player plays 18 holes each day and the two scores are added together.
This is Finnegan’s third year playing in the regionals, but first year making it to state.
“My first round was not good,” she said. “But I battled back in the second round because I thought I still had a chance.”
O’Neil said the junior “started off a little nervous.”
“She overcame some struggles on the first few holes and came back with a solid back nine,” the coach said.
Finnegan shot 52 on the front nine but cut six strokes to shoot 46 on the back.
She said she had only played on Marengo’s course once to prepare; she hopes to play the Marshalltown course a couple of times prior to the state tournament.
O’Neil said the Marengo course is relatively short yet hilly compared to others the team played on during the season.
“The hills and the wind did play a big factor in the challenges yesterday,” O’Neil said. “The scores were higher than we thought they’d be going into it.”
The lowest score of the day was 83; the highest was 153. Of the individual golfers who advanced to regionals, Finnegan had the lowest score. The highest individual golfer score was 110.
“I think my short game struggled, but I tried to keep a positive attitude and a smile on my face,” she said.
Finnegan said she will focus on her short game prior to state.
“We would like to get to Marshalltown to play a practice round if possible,” O’Neil said. “We’d also like to play some other courses in the area that present more of a challenge.”
Randy Sexton, who now coaches boys golf, used to coach girls golf as well. He said the last time the girls golf team qualified for state is when the entire team did so in 1998, then finished second overall to Grundy Center.