Conway claws back into second at state tournament

Starting the day in fourth place, the Conway Lady Cats golf team Wednesday clawed its way back to a second-place finish in the 7A State Golf Tournament at Centennial Valley Country Club behind a strong second round by senior Casey Ott.

 

Ott was not pleased with her opening round of play Tuesday when she shot 5-over par, which placed her in second on the day and seven shots behind Fort Smith Southside golfer Sydney Staton.

However, she came back with a bogey-free day, finishing 5-under par, wiping out Staton’s lead and winning by four strokes, an 11-stroke turnaround from the day before.

“Yesterday, I was talking to the head pro, Mike [Smith], who is also my swing coach,” she said. “He said, ‘just go 77 and 67.’ I was like, ‘OK.’ That was the goal. I wasn’t trying to shoot a specific number. I was just trying to have fun.”

Ott said the two leaders were tight throughout the second round until the 14th hole, which Ott said changed the momentum in her favor.

Ott birdied while Staton parred and the Conway golfer opened a two-stroke lea .

Conway coach Janet Taylor was proud of Ott’s performance.

“She’s such a dynamic player that I had no doubt she would make a run at it,” Taylor said. “She was a little fired up about her round yesterday, so I couldn’t be happier. I expect nothing less from her.

“I’m very pleased about that round. She’s been around four years, and I think she feels like she has a monkey off her back. She’s won the Overall twice and this is one thing she really wanted {the state 7A title], so I’m really happy for her.”

Ott was just part of the help for the Lady Cats, who eventually took home the runner-up title behind 7A champion Bentonville.

Conway’s Sydney Stiener improved her score by six strokes from round one to round two, finishing fifth with a final total of 164.

Stiener’s sister, Sam, also improved her score from round one by three strokes, but it wasn’t enough to beat Bentonville’s trio of Lilly Thomas, who finished third with a total of 158, Kinslee Miller’s fourth-place finish with 163 strokes and Chloe Ellis’s 13th-place finish with 184 strokes.

Conway fell 10 strokes short of beating out Bentonville for the title, but Taylor was not disappointed.

“We knew there were three or four really good teams who were about the same, so we knew we would have to play well both days,” she said. “Yesterday, we were a little disappointed in our round, but we were grateful that it was a two-day tournament. It used to be a one-day tournament.

“We could come back the next day with nothing to lose and make some noise, which we did. We dug such a big hole yesterday and it was tough to overcome today. We gave a good shot at it.”

While it may be the end of the season for some, Ott will continue her season at the Overall turnament at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock in a couple weeks.

 

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