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North Harrison's Hallie Hinton rolls a putt toward the hole at Lucas Oil Golf Course as Crawford County's Shelbi Cook waits her turn. Photo by Wade Bell

Lady Cats edge Crawford by 6 strokes

August 27, 2014 | 09:40 AM

During the summer golf season, Crawford County senior Shelbi Cook struggled with her game in major proportions. With scores going well above 100 for 18-hole rounds, it was bad enough at one point that Cook considered chucking her clubs and giving up the game.

"I was in tears; I cried," Cook remembered. "I decided I was going to quit golf and not go to college. They weren't going to let me in. I thought they just weren't going to. Then, everyone fought for me. I knew I had to score good on the next one, so I shot an 85 and just kind of rubbed it in their faces. I can do this, and I'm not going to let it stop me."

That 85 gave Cook new life, and the senior has now won four straight matches to begin her final season, the last two being at home against rival North Harrison.

"Shelbi played relatively well," Crawford County coach Brian Ruble said. "Besides two holes that she scored high numbers on, she's in the low 40s to maybe high 30s... She's playing better than she did early last year. I'm pleased with the way she's playing. She's putting the time into it."

The Lady Cats, however, earned a team win, shooting six strokes under the Lady Pack's 238 for nine holes. Both teams have a lot of youth and inexperience, with some just now learning the game.

"We're very young," North Harrison coach Rob Higdon said. "They're not used to the competition that high school brings. Eight of them are freshmen, and there's one senior. ... They're experienced in middle-school golf, but high school golf is altogether different. When they realize what it's all about, I think we'll be all right."

Cook got off to a big start with a birdie on her first hole. The senior's second shot went right of the green at the Lucas Oil Golf Course at English and landed in the rough about 35 yards from the hole. Cook then had the shot of the day when she chipped to within three feet of the hole, leading to the birdie on the par 5.

"That really boosted my confidence," Cook said.

The first hole was more unkind to others from both teams, with five 10s being recorded. Crawford County took the early team lead but would later see that evaporate. Part of the problem was a soggy course after 2-1/2 inches of rain that created poor conditions and greens that were tough to read.

Cook hit a bad tee shot on her third hole after a bogey on the second. That led to a score of seven on the hole and a little frustration.

"I lost it," Cook said. "As soon as I hit my driver out, I can never recover from a bad driver. I decided to keep playing and recover on the next hole."

The Crawford County senior did just that with another big shot on the fourth, dumping in a putt of more than 20 feet to save par and get her confidence back.

Cook had one more bad hole, with a 7 on the ninth, but still finished with a 45 for the day for medalist honors. Johnson finished with a 57, and Jada Smith a 66. Kaitlyn Knight finished with a 70 for a total 238 for the Lady Pack.

Hallie Hinton led the Lady Cats with 54, and Cassidy Thompson and Katie Alexander each had 58s. Sophie Jacobi rounded out North Harrison's top four with a 62 for a team total 232 for the nine holes.

Higdon said Hinton is expected to steadily improve while the others are in more of a learning mode.

"Cassidy (Thompson) is a good practice girl," Higdon said. "She works at it. She's got a lot to learn. Katie Alexander and Sophie Jacobi are both capable of playing good golf. Their mindset right now is not high school golf. It's still fun to them right now. I see a lot of potential in every one of them, but it's going to take a year or two for it to come out. Down the road, I'm going to expect a lot more out of them."

North Harrison 232 (Hallie Hinton 54, Cassidy Thompson 58, Katie Alexander 58, Sophie Jacobi 62), Crawford County 238 (Shelbi Cook 45, Stephanie Johnson 57, Jada Smith 66, Kaitlyn Knight 70).

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