CARMEL — Tomorrow is a new day.
That will be the mantra for the Gibson Southern girls golf team.
Playing in the state finals, as a team, for the first time in school history, the Lady Titans struggled throughout the first day of the IHSAA State Championships on the unforgiving course at Prairie View Golf Club.
Gibson Southern carded a season-high team score of 390 for 14th place in the team standings.
“It was a frustrating day,” Titans coach Cliff Irvin said in summing up the round. “We were playing in survival mode from the get go. I thought everything would smooth out and we would start scoring our normal pars with some birdies mixed in, but it never really happened like that today.”
Pars were hard to come by and birdies were nearly nonexistent for the Lady Titans.
Between the five golfers, Gibson Southern recorded just 15 pars and one birdie for the day.
Sophomore Hillary Humbaugh registered the lone red number of the day as she birdied the 428-yard Par 5 No. 3.
Seniors Claire Jones and Allie Sensmeier led Gibson Southern with a pair of 94’s. Both scores were season worsts for the top golfers.
Humbaugh finished with a 96, while No. 3 golfer Liz Angermeier rounded out the scoring with a 106.
Sophomore Jessie Irvin was the Lady Titans No. 5 golfer and finished with a 116.
Freshman Vanessa Schmitt will play in the No. 5 slot for Gibson Southern on Saturday.
Coach Irvin attributed the unusually high scores to a couple different things on Friday.
“I think some of it was nerves,” the coach said. “It’s only human to have nerves in a tournament like this. I really thought they would get it out of their system after a couple of holes but it just kind of stayed with them and went into a downward spiral.
“Also we don’t see this amount of bunkers on any course we play. Being in the bunkers just ruined a couple of the girls’ scores and I take blame for that. We practice bunker play, but not as much as we should have for the amount this course has and the difficulty.”
Gibson Southern was not the only team to struggle on the round.
The defending champions had a rare off day as well as Evansville North posted a 311 (+23). The Huskies set state scoring records at the sectional and regional rounds in the previous two weeks.
North, ranked No. 1 in the state rankings all season, sits 13 strokes behind Homestead for the top team spot after the first round.
As for the Titans, Irvin doesn’t expect to see his team put up high numbers for a second straight day.
“It was tough, but we survived today,” the third-year coach said. “They have seen it, they felt it and now they know what to expect. They should be more comfortable out here tomorrow. I do not want them to be worried about anyone else...I just want to see them improve on day two so they can leave here proud and hang their hat on something.”
The second and final round will commence at 8:30 a.m. (EST).
NOTE: Second round pairings have not yet been announced.