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Benham tops Dooley in golf

Benham tops Dooley in golf
Benham tops Dooley in golf
The 16th hole proves to be disastrous for North Harrison senior Allison Dooley, after she finds the trees on her second shot. Dooley finished with a 42 for the day, one shot behind Crawford's Chelsea Benham. North Harrison won the overall match against the Lady Pack, 185-225. Below, Benham finds the fairway on her tee shot on the 16th hole and finishes with a birdie. The hole proved to be the difference in Benham's 41-42 win. (Photos by Wade Bell)

Crawford County’s Chelsea Benham and North Harrison’s Allison Dooley have been golfing against each other since the seventh grade, and each time Benham has come up a little up short against her opponent and friend. That is, until last Tuesday.
Hole No. 16 at the Old English Golf Course was the difference, as Benham beat Dooley by a stroke in a season-opening dual meet.
‘It’s a pretty proud moment,’ said Benham after edging Dooley 41-42. ‘Allison’s a great player, and it always gives you more confidence when you beat her. I only beat her by one stroke, and she’s beat me by many strokes before. It does give me a boost, but she just went wrong on that one hole and that’s what hurt her today. Other than that, she played a great round just as well.’
‘I had one bad hole,’ said Dooley after the round. ‘I’ll do better. It’s our first match.’
Benham, Dooley and North Harrison No. 2 Courtney Barr were all paired together. Benham got off to a nervous start, while Dooley and Barr were both finding the center of the fairways.
‘I started out on No. 10; 10 was my struggle hole,’ Benham said. ‘It was my first hole of the season. It’s nice to get it out of the way. I double-bogeyed it. I was a little nervous. Everyone’s nervous.’
Dooley’s driver was also paying off with her drives flying the longest of the threesome. Dooley said, however, those drives were not the most important.
‘It’s nice to have, but I want to focus more on putting and chipping,’ said Dooley. ‘If my driver goes wrong, I’ll definitely fix it. I think the first shot gets you leaning in a good path.’
Barr said she tries to feed off her teammate when Dooley is playing well.
‘She helps me a lot,’ said Barr. ‘When she does something wrong, I try to fix it with my thing. We do the same things wrong at some times.’
After getting past the first two holes, Benham was more relaxed and began playing equally as well as her opponents.
On No. 15, Barr got some help from the cart path to give her the longest drive of the day but the ball landed just inside a patch of blackberry bushes. After chipping out of the problem, her next shot flew 20 feet past the pin. Barr made up for it, however, as her long putt tapped the flag pole and dropped in the hole.
‘I started off good, then I hit a couple of bad shots that went out and then I got really tensed up,’ said Barr. ‘Once I calmed down, I played better.’
Then came No. 16 and disaster for Dooley. The North Harrison senior’s first shot carried only about 60 yards into the middle of the cart path. After taking a drop, Dooley’s next shot went far right into the trees on the right side of the course. Meanwhile, Benham’s first shot found the fairway on the right side.
Dooley’s next shot out of the trees went only a few feet, and the North Harrison standout, showing some uncharacteristic frustration, had to take a second drop. Dooley finally got on the green and triple-bogeyed the hole. Benham, however, made the hole work for her, finishing with a birdie.
‘After the chunk, I kind of got scared,’ Dooley admitted. ‘I hit down on it and then after that I went in the woods and tried to hit out of it. It didn’t work out and it went on the road. Then I had a bad lie because I was on a hill … I let that one get to me a little bit. I started crying.’
Barr’s next job was a tough one, trying to get her teammate’s spirits back up for the final two holes.
Dooley got her groove back on the 17th, but it looked like a problem was going to develop on the 18th when Dooley’s tee shot went left for a difficult second around a group of trees. The North Harrison senior, however, made it look easy as she curved the ball around the trees within a few yards of the green. The damage had already been done, however, as Benham got the 41-42 win over Dooley. Barr finished as the Lady Cats third-best score for the day with a 45 behind teammate Megan Woolston, who shot a 44.
‘I want to work on putting and not hitting the dinks,’ said Barr. ‘I did that a lot today. I’m hoping to improve a lot. I want to shoot under 40. As long as I break 40, I’m good.’
Dooley said she played during the whole summer but said high school golf is a lot different than the summer amateur tournaments.
‘High school is more relaxed,’ she said. ‘In the summer, the tourneys are strict. I guess I’m just used to strict rules.’
Dooley said she has to forget about this round and think about the next matches to come.
North Harrison 185 (Allison Dooley 42, Megan Woolston 44, Courtney Barr 45, Sara Lang 54)
Crawford County 225 (Chelsea Benham 41, Nikki Kitchens 56, Brandi Lewicki 59, Alivia Newton 69)
Dooley bounced back Thursday to fire a 1-over par 36 at New Salisbury Golf Course. North Harrison went on to defeat Mid-Southern Conference rivals Salem and Crawford County. Courtney Barr and Sara Lang shot their personal best on the season with a 40 and 48 respectively.
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