COLUMBUS — On a breezy, sometimes sunny, sometimes cloudy Friday, with occasional, if momentary light rain, and variable temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s (depending upon the cloud cover) Miami Trace High School junior Libby Aleshire competed on the first day of the 28th Annual Girls Division I State golf tournament on the Gray course at The Ohio State University.
On the par 70 course, Aleshire shot a 95, which placed her 64th out of 72 individuals.
“I thought the course was great,” Aleshire said. “It was in great condition. Pin placements were pretty hard and just the distance. We’re not used to playing on long-yardage courses, so, it was different playing on it. I had to pull out some longer irons, longer clubs going into greens that I’m not used to.
“It just really wasn’t my day,” Aleshire said. “I had trouble getting off the tee box at times. I had a rough start until about hole six and then I kind of got going but I never really got in a rhythm to keep moving and pick back up the strokes that I lost at the beginning.”
Aleshire had Friday evening to regroup and rest and get ready to hit the course again Saturday morning.
“I’m going to try and forget about it, but, I mean, golfers pretty much remember every course they play,” Aleshire said. “You remember where you were, what happened on that hole, so, I’m going to try to forget about it, but I know that’s going to be rough.
“Tomorrow, I’m just going to go out and have fun and not worry about where I finish,” Aleshire said. “I can go nowhere else but up.
“I felt like I was mentally ready, but, golf is one of those things where you have to get in a groove,” Aleshire said. “If you don’t find your groove, it’s hard to play well. I just felt like I never got in the groove. It was just difficult today.”
“The statement was made (Thursday) at the coaches meeting that they were going to set the course up as hard as possible, even harder than it was last week, because the kids coming in were a higher level athlete,” Miami Trace head coach Todd Wallace said. “So, they did. They stretched the tee boxes out, they put the pins in a little bit more difficult spots. A lot of the holes were playing longer even than during the practice round (Thursday).
“My aspirations for Libby was for her to stay at 95 or less for today,” Wallace said. “She needed to get a feel for playing against competition of that calibre. It took her a few holes to get adjusted. She had one bad hole, a par three that she took an eight on. It wasn’t an easy hole for anybody. Other than that, she hit the ball well today. She was keeping up with the other kids.
“She had some mental errors, here and there, shot placement and different things,” Wallace said. “Just stuff that will come with time and a lot more focus. I think now that the jitters are over, I think tomorrow (Saturday), realistically, we should see her shoot probably in the mid to low 80’s. She’ll cut a bunch of strokes off.
“My kids, for some reason, are always bad weather golfers,” Wallace said. “Tomorrow (Saturday) the weather is supposed to be kind of inclement. It seems like whenever it’s like that, for some reason, all of the kids on my team seem to play better. I don’t know why that is.”
New Albany (from Franklin County) was the leading team after the first day of the tournament, shooting a 293 (13 over par). New Albany had two players tie for the lead, both with scores of 71. New Albany has a 17-stroke lead over the second place team, Green (from Summit County, the Akron area) going into the final 18 holes Saturday.
“For those two kids, that is their main sport,” Wallace said. “For Libby, she plays three different sports. Those (New Albany) kids are strictly golf athletes. That’s what they do, year ‘round. In the wintertime, you’ll probably catch them in the south playing in tournaments.
“There are some girls up here who can hit their driver 290-300 yards,” Wallace said.
“I told Libby this morning, ‘my goal for you is just to finish today,’” Wallace said. “There are no expectations. In 15 years, no one is going to remember that she shot a 95 the first day of the State tournament.
“What they’re going to remember is, Elizabeth Aleshire, in 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, was the very first female golfer from Miami Trace to make State,” Wallace said.
The State tournament continues Saturday at Ohio State.