The most formidable opposition for the Center Grove girls golf team in Thursday’s Johnson County Tournament might have been the heat.
The Trojans handled that — and everyone else — with relative ease, finishing 46 shots clear of runner-up Whiteland on a brutally hot and humid afternoon at Hickory Stick Golf Club.
Center Grove finished with a team score of 304, safely ahead of the Warriors’ 350. Greenwood (375) was third, followed by Indian Creek (393), Franklin (418) and Edinburgh (466).
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The Trojans were led by Kirby Swails, who managed to stay cool throughout en route to a career-best 72, good for medalist honors.
“It was extremely exciting,” Swails said of her round. “I’ve never played that well before, so it’s really good that I got to do that here.”
Center Grove coach Jim Williams said that when the team’s practice round was washed out Wednesday, they sat in the clubhouse and mapped out a plan of attack hole by hole.
Swails followed that plan in full and executed in near-perfect fashion.
“She went home, typed it all up and everything,” Williams said. “She was ready to go.”
The Trojans had the four players to break 80 — Shelby Schier carded a 75 playing in the opening group to set the tone, and Lucy Young and Hannah Wilson finished at 78 and 79, respectively.
Though 46 shots back of the winner, Whiteland still finished safely clear of the rest of the field. The Warriors were paced by Audrey Eckart’s 82 and Bri Harwell’s 83.
Whiteland coach Crystal Morse said that her team’s front-nine total was its best of the season. She was pleasantly surprised by how well the Warriors fared in their first 18-hole event of the year.
“Honestly, I was thinking 360 would have even been a good score,” Morse said, “and we came in with a 350, and I know we’re just going to improve on that.
“I was pumped. I was proud of everybody. Everybody did great, so I’m happy.”
Most of the girls on the course Thursday got worn down by the weather as their rounds progressed. As a result, scores were generally a bit higher across the board on the back nine.
“The front nine was pretty good,” said Schier, who matched Swails with a 35 on the front nine, “and then on No. 11 I didn’t feel right, just because the heat was getting to me. So I kind of fell apart after that, but I think I held it together pretty well.”
Lauren Parslely paced Indian Creek with a round of 85, tying Center Grove’s Ashley Voyles for the seventh best round of the tournament. Greenwood was led by Taylor Watson’s 88.
The Trojans, though, were the class of the field — something Williams hopes will carry over into bigger tournaments later this season.
“You hope that it sets the tone for them; at least they know what they’re capable of doing,” he said. “Hopefully we continue on and build from this now.”