CARMEL –– Sage Parsetich thought for sure her approach shot is No. 9 was destined for a wet landing.
Playing at Prairie View Golf Club in the opening round of the IHSAA girls golf state championship Friday, the Center Grove senior had a bad feeling about her shot as soon as she hit it. But instead of landing with a splash, it sailed over the hazard and bounced safely on the green, setting her up for a par finish.
It was a lucky shot, laughed Parsetich, who was 2-over through nine, but after that, the energy changed.
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Parsetich erased a bogey on No. 10 with a birdie, then posted par on five of her next seven holes to finish with a 4-over 76, good for third entering Saturday’s final round.
Columbus North freshman Ava Bunker sits atop the Leaderboard after firing a 3-under 69; Batesville freshman Ava South is second at 2-over 74.
“I was a bit nervous in the beginning, thinking ‘it’s my last go-around’ and putting that pressure on myself to do well,” Parsetich said. “(But then) I started telling myself, ‘You can’t think about that. Just go out and have fun.’ And I turned things around.”
Parsetich’s top-five standing was the highlight amid an impressive day for Center Grove, which scored 320 as a team to take a three-stroke lead over Carmel.
The Trojans were strong all around with Abby Rich and Camille Short firing identical 81s (t-18), and Rowan Pfieifle finishing a stroke behind them in a tie for 26th. Lexi Stewart’s 88 is not included in her team’s scoring, but is within the top-50 on the leaderboard.
CG, which has yet to win a team state title, placed eighth at last year’s event.
“All of our girls, I think we were putting a bunch of pressure on ourselves last year and were getting caught up in that,” said Parsetich, who tees off at 10:45 am Saturday. “But this year, we’ve been going into it focused on playing our game and not worrying about anything, just go out and have fun.”
Castle and Culver Academies (328), and Batesville and Homestead (329) round out the top-five on the team standings.
Homestead’s Cassidy Ayres finished a stroke behind Parsetich on the individual leaderboard. There is a three-way tie for fifth with Westfield’s Samantha Brown, Culver Academies’ Eleanor Teglia and Noblesville’s Caroline Whallon all at 6-over 78.
Whallon looks to bounce back after Friday’s Rocky finish
It took nearly three hours, but Whallon was very good through her first nine, posting a 1-over as she made the turn at No. 18. But the exhaustingly slow pace took its toll as the round progressed, she said, and she quickly fell from her second-place standing.
“I had a lot of adrenaline going in and I was excited, but then the back nine took three hours and that started to hit me,” Whallon said following the six-hour round. “I was tired and mentally exhausted, but I just kept going.”
Whallon said she ate a lot in an effort to keep her energy up, but her mind (understandably) wandered during the lengthy delays between shots. “You just have to make sure when you go up to hit that you’re envisioning what you want to do,” she continued.
Despite posting a 5-over on the back, Whallon is only two strokes outside the top-3 and is maintaining a positive attitude entering Saturday.
“I’m looking at all the positive takeaways from this round,” she said. “I’m feeling good about tomorrow and hopefully getting it back together.”
Other notable area finishers
>> Westfield’s Brown was joined by teammate Addi Kooi in the top-10. Kooi, a sophomore, is tied for seventh with a 7-over 79.
>> Carmel’s top-two finishers, Ava Nguyen and Claire Swathwood, posted matching 80s and are tied for 11th with five others. Sophie Mock is tied for 18th (81).
>> Franklin freshman Lexi Ray scored an 81, good for 18th on the leaderboard.
>> Lapel senior and two-time Defending state Champion Macy Beeson is tied for 29th with an 11-over 83.
2022 IHSAA GIRLS GOLF MEET
First round, Prairie View Golf Club (Carmel), Par 72
Team scores: 1, Center Grove — 320; 2, Carmel — 323; t-3, Castle, Culver Academies — 328; t-5, Batesville, Homestead —329; 7, Westfield —335; 8, Hamilton Southeastern —347; 9, Noblesville — 348; 10, Floyd Central —349; 11, Zionsville—354; 12, Penn — 359; 13, Carroll (Fort Wayne) — 363; 14, Lake Central — 380; 15, Valparaiso — 388; t-16, Bedford North Lawrence — 403; Gibson Southern — 403; 18, Delta — 444.
Top 15: 1, Ava Bunker, Columbus North — 69; 2, Ava South, Batesville — 74; 3, Sage Parsetich, Center Grove — 76; 4, Cassidy Ayres, Homestead — 77; t-5, Samantha Brown, Westfield — 78; t-5, Eleanor Teglia, Culver Academies — 78; t-5, Caroline Whallon, Noblesville, 78; t-8, Addi Kooi, Westfield — 79; T8, Emma Weiler, Batesville — 79; t-8, Ashley Kirkland, Castle — 79; t-11, Karilyn Teglia, Culver Academies — 80; t-11, Paige Giovenco, Floyd Central — 80; t-11, Ava Nguyen, Carmel — 80; t-11, Claire Swathwood, Carmel — 80; t-11, Delaney Wade, Penn — 80; t-11, Elizabeth Mercer, Western — 80; t-11, Brynlee DeBoard, Kankakee Valley — 80.
Follow Brian Haenchen on Twitter at @Brian_Haenchen.