Lady Pirates look to take the next step with all 5 starters back

Chris Bowie
BOONVILLE GOLF TEAM (front row, left to right) Azalya Kluck, Leah Ziegelbein, Rayghan Skoufos, Hannah LeGrant and Carlie Daniel. (back row, left to right) Ella Battreall, Payton Black, Zoey Lang, head coach Rob VanderLinden, Julianne Bromagen, Mckenna Campbell and Alexis Schnetzler.

Boonville Lady Pirates golf coach Rob VanderLinden couldn’t be happier to start the 2020 season.

With COVID-19 still affecting most of the nation, VanderLinden hopes the 2020 season will bring some positive energy as the Lady Pirates prepare for the season opener on August 28 in a quadrangular at Richmond.

“We’re looking to have a positive season with all of our returning varsity members back, plus freshmen additions,” VanderLinden said.

Of course it’s easy to see why VanderLinden is in a hurry to get started. After finishing 7-3-1 overall and 5-2 in the Tri-County Conference in 2019, Boonville returns virtually all five starters back from last year, including two letterwinners.

In all, the Boonville Lady Pirates golf team has a total of 11 members out for the 2020 season.

Although VanderLinden has yet to select a starting five for the season opener, he said the next-two qualifying rounds will be decided this week.

As of right now, VanderLinden said sophomore Hannah LeGrant is leading the field with a qualifying score of 41, which is eight strokes better than last year’s stroke average.

Peyton Black, another sophomore, is currently in second place with a score of 43-which is 11 strokes better than her stroke average in 2019. Following suit after Black are sophomore Zoey Lang with a stroke average of 43.3 (50.8 stroke average in 2019), Rayghan Skoufos with a stroke average of 50 (54.7 average in 2019), and Carlie Daniel in the No. 5 spot with a stroke average of 53.3.

Only the top five will make up the varsity team for the Lady Pirates.

Others fighting for a spot on the varsity team are senior Julianne Bromagen with a stroke average of 55.7 (57.8 average in 2019), Leah Ziegelbein with a stroke average of 58.7 (59.3 average in 2019), Alexis Schnetzler with a stroke average of 59.0 (stroke average 66.3 in 2019), Mckenna Campbell with a stroke average of 60.7 (65.6 average in 2019), Azalya Kluck with a stroke average of 61.5 and Ella Battreall with a stroke average of 67.

With so many starters back from last year’s team, which finished second in the conference tournament, VanderLinden said the key this season is to not get complacent with the success they should have this year.

“The girls still have to show up to the course every day and work on their game,” VanderLinden said. “Everyone has areas to improve so it’s up to them to work on those areas. The strength of this team is the depth. We have six golfers that could post our best score for a match or tournament. There is good comradery on the team and they compete with each other.”

The future of the Lady Pirates golf team is also bright. VanderLinden said of the 11 golfers, seven are sophomores and two are freshmen.

Although that is good news, VanderLinden said there are courses the girls haven’t played and that is always an adjustment when you get to a new course. He said how well the girls play around the green will determine both individual and team success.

“Our goal, of course, is to win conference and qualify the team for state,”VanderLinden said.

As for the Tri-County Conference this season, VanderLinden said there should be three teams competing for the conference championship.

“We finished second last year at conference so we are hoping to move up,” VanderLinden said. “Southern Boone, Eldon and Blair Oaks are always strong competition and have a couple of top golfers in the state.”