Both the Nation Ford and Fort Mill girls’ golf teams are both hopeful for good showings out of the gate to open the 2018 season.
Nation Ford brings back eight golfers from last season and returns five of their top six golfers including No. 1 player in junior Zoe Bowers. The Falcons opened their season against York Thursday shooting a 183 to beat the Cougars by 31 strokes.
Bowers led the way with an even par 36 at the Spring Lake Country Club in York. Her score was followed by a pair of 48s from Eileen Zeoli and Felicity Shackleford and a 51 from Amber Bellamy.
Head coach and Director of Athletics Jaybe Shackleford said he feels confident his team this season will be in contention for a Region IV title.
“We have been trailing Northwestern and Fort Mill that past couple years,” he said. “If we are going to catch them, this is the year.”
Nation Ford, which plays its home matches at Springfield Golf Club, has just four home contests this year with the first one a tri-match Aug. 29. The will have a four-way match Sept. 12 and then will host Clover Sept. 20 and York Oct. 1.
The Region IV tournament will be held at a neutral site this season at Chester Golf Club Oct. 8.
“It is something that (region) coaches have been asking for,” Shackleford said.
The Upper State tournament, should Fort Mill or Nation Ford advance, will be held at Waterford Golf Club in Rock Hill Oct. 15. Besides the region tournament, Nation Ford will only play in one other tournament during the regular season and that is the Trojan Invitational, also at Waterford, Sept. 7.
New coach at Fort Mill
For Fort Mill, the team is made up a little different this year under first year head coach Brad Mercer. The Jackets have eight golfers, but just one starter from last year, despite having five who played in some matches last season. But Fort Mill is mostly inexperienced.
“The potential is there,” Mercer said. “That is what is exciting.”
Mercer said he wants to help the girls with the fundamentals of the the sport and see them have fun playing it.
“My biggest goal is to teach them the game of golf and get them to enjoy it,” he said. “Once they do that the scores will come.”
The only returning starter was last year’s No. 5 player, junior Allie Barnes.
Fort Mill doesn’t open the season until Sept. 4 when the Jackets play South Pointe at the Rock Hill Country Club. Like Nation Ford, Fort Mill has just four home matches at Fort Mill Golf Club. Their first home match is a tri-match Sept. 10. They play another tri-match Sept. 17 and will host South Pointe Sept. 19 and Clover Sept. 24. The rivals are scheduled to square off against each other Sept. 12 at Springfield and Sept. 17 at Fort Mill.