Goodling’s career-best 72 leads Baron golfers
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
Haley Goodling knew that she was putting together a good round last Thursday in the Manheim Central golf team’s Section Two opener at Highlands of Donegal.
But it wasn’t until after the match that the Barons’ junior star realized just how well she actually did.
Boosted by three birdies, Goodling fired a career-best 1-over par 72 and medaled for having the lowest score out of six teams.
"It wasn’t until the very, very end until after everything was over," Goodling said, "that my mom (Barb) came up to me and she was like, ‘Do you know what you shot?’ I said, ‘No,’ and she was like, ‘You shot a 72.’ I said, ‘Oh, man.’ I mean, I knew I was playing well. I just didn’t know that I was playing 1-over par well. I thought it was more like a 76 or so."
The Central golfers – with their top three players all breaking 80 – finished with 312 as a team, tying them with Solanco. But the Golden Mules won the tiebreaker based on the results of each team’s fifth golfer, with Solanco’s Darren Rutledge (93) edging MC’s Wesley Hall (106).
R.J. Bowman finished second for the Barons with a round of 76, followed by Eli Perron (79) and then Micah Hershberger (85) rounding out the top four, as the Barons finished 32 strokes ahead of third-place E-town (344). Cocalico (347), Lampeter-Strasburg (354), Garden Spot (379) and Lebanon (495) rounded out the bottom four.
"Based on the first match, I’m having high hopes," Goodling said when asked about the team’s outlook this fall. "But I’m honestly not sure because last year we did really well in our first match too (before finishing 30-12 in fourth place in Section Two). But I mean, I think as a team we’re playing pretty well, and our team is closer personally … fingers crossed."
If Goodling’s first match is any indication, she could be headed for a very big junior year. Her 72 at Highlands of Donegal was five strokes better than the 77 that she shot on that same course last year. Solanco’s Jimmy Howell had the second-best score last Thursday with a round of 74.
"It’s pretty much my lowest-ever, period," Goodling said. "I really practiced my short game there the day before. I just wasn’t making as many putts during practice rounds on the greens, so I figured I’d practice that for a little. When I don’t think about my score, that’s when I play better. So I didn’t focus on what I was shooting and at the end, I was like, ‘Wow, I shot a 72. Where did that come from?’"
Goodling fired two birdies on the opening nine – on holes one and nine – and then she closed out with another, on hole 14, for the back nine. A model of consistency, she finished with a 36-36 on Elizabethtown’s home course.
Last fall, Goodling took home the Lancaster-Lebanon League bronze medal, then went on to place fifth at Districts, 11th at the PIAA Eastern Regionals and 16th in her first-ever appearance at the State Championships.
Asked about her goals this year, Goodling said, "For the League, I’m hoping to be in the top five and then hopefully to make it to States again. That was fun."
The Manheim Central golfers returned to action this past Tuesday, earning another second-place finish by going 5-1 in a Section Two match at Hawk Valley.
Goodling again led the Barons (10-2), shooting a round of 83. As a team, Central finished with 351, which was 19 strokes off the pace set by first-place Solanco (332). Connor Sheehan led all golfers by firing a 68.
The Barons finished seven strokes ahead of Lampeter-Strasburg (358), while Garden Spot (369), Cocalico (380), Elizabethtown (382) and Lebanon (463) rounded out the field.
Bowman (86) was three strokes behind Goodling for the Barons and then Perron (90), Hershberger (92) and Hall (95) completed the team’s top five.
More GOODLING, page B-2