Kerle earns Megamatch medalist honors for the fifth time
By Kenn Staub
For the CLARION NEWS
McKayla Kerle shot a 44 on Hi-Level Golf Course's 2,209 yard, par 34 front nine to claim medalist honors on Monday (Sept. 9) at the sixth girls' Megamatch of the season. It was the third time in the four girls' Megamatches at which she has competed that the Clarion freshman finished with the event's low round.
The only blemish on Kerle's record was a second place in her last outing, a late August Megamatch at Foxburg Country Club.
Kerle attributed her winning score to being straight off the tee and hitting good second shots. The highlight of her loop was a birdie on the seventh, a relatively straight 210-yard, par four "My drive went right up onto the fringe and then I chipped it really close and putted it in for birdie," said Kerle.
Kendall Grossman of Moniteau finished second with a 46, while Cranberry's Andrea Ziegler was third with a 48. Grossman, who has won two events this year, is the only competitor to finish in the top five at each of this season's megamatches. Warrior golfers Haley Pry and Brittany Ritts both carded 52s to tie for fourth.
Keystone's Becca Lander staked her claim to sixth with a 54, birdieing the seventh hole in the process. "I did really well today. I improved on my teeing off, I improved on that quite a bit. So that helped my score tremendously," noted Lander.
"I'm really proud of Becca and her score today. That's one of our lowest scores I think yet," said Panthers' coach Mindy Hess.
Moniteau's Hailey Campbell put up a 56 for seventh, with Lauren Winters of Clarion coming home in eighth with a 57. It was a big day for the Clarion golfer, as Winters was not only celebrating her 16th birthday, but also claimed an eagle on the seventh while in the process achieving a season-high finish.
"So today was the best I've played all season so far," Winters said. "I got an eagle on hole number seven. My drive was almost on the green and then I chipped it right in," enthused Winters before joining her friends for celebratory post-match cupcakes."
Maya Patterson and Rachel Howard of Clarion, as well as Ally Rogers of Keystone shot 58s, knotting the trio for ninth on the leaderboard.
"I was pretty happy with a 58. I was just hitting really well, my putts kind of got me a little bit on a couple holes but I think the most I putted was a three on a hole," said Patterson of her round.
Reported Howard, "I definitely could have played better, it wasn't my best round. My putting was off to begin with, but then after the first couple of holes I was able to bring it back. And then I think my chipping was definitely what hurt my score."
Other Clarion golfers at the event, who like their schoolmates competed as independent individuals, were Olivia Kiser (62) and Amanda Matus (65).
"I think overall we played pretty well. Rachel and Maya both tied and Lauren had a 57. McKayla had a 44 today. So those are some good scores. We had a couple of chip-ins, so chipping must have been working out for some of them," observed Clarion coach Jackie Kerle.
Moniteau had a three-person score of 150 to win the team contest, the product of rounds by Grossman, Ritts, and Pry. The Warriors have claimed victory in all six of the year's megamatches.
Keystone finished in second for the fourth consecutive match. Panther golfers Lander, Rogers, and Brie-anna Leadbetter (61) contributed to the team's 173.
Said Keystone's Hess after results were posted. "I think they're improving every time and I think we're at an advantage playing here on their home course today and then the next two matches (which are scheduled for Hi-Level). Kind of excited to see what we're going to do. I was disappointed Molly (Ellenburger) wasn't able to play because she's really been improving the last couple times. So yeah, I think they feel at home here and more comfortable. Just once again it comes down to putting and the short game. I think we're really starting to work on it."
Cranberry took third with a 180. Ziegler, Kendell Findlay (59), and Brooke Whitling (73) were the three golfers whose scores counted for the Berries.
A-C Valley was the other school represented at the event, with Evie Bliss (59) and Allyssa Leith (69) competing in blue and white.
The next girls' Megamatch is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 16 at Hi-Level.