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Hale storm: Goodling blows away L-L field MC junior captures first League title
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
Having medaled twice in Section Two matches this fall, it was no surprise that Manheim Central’s Haley Goodling was labeled as a favorite going into the Lancaster-Lebanon League Golf Championships on Monday.
Besides that, she had also earned top-three L-L finishes the previous two years, winning the silver medal in 2012 and bronze in 2013.
Admittedly, the expectations weighed a bit on the Manheim Central junior early on.
"Even though it’s just a League Tournament, I felt like people were expecting something from me," Goodling said. "At first, it made me a little nervous. But after I started playing, it left my mind and I started focusing on other things."
That focus paved the way for Goodling to claim her first L-L championship, firing a 6-over par 76 at Overlook Golf Course while finishing 11 strokes ahead of runner-up Allison Appleton, of Penn Manor, who shot a 17-over 87.
"It feels great because last year I came in third and the year before I came in second, so finally I got it myself," said Goodling, who now advances to the District Three Girls Championships next Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4-5 at Briarwood West Golf Club in York.
Her teammate R.J. Bowman was also feeling great on Monday after punching his ticket to Districts, placing in a five-way tie for 19th place in the L-L League Boys Championships with a 13-over par 83 at Overlook. Bowman was among 19 in the Triple-A field who extended their season to the District Three Boys Championships, to be held Oct. 4-5 at Briarwood East Golf Club in York.
Goodling was a model of consistency on Monday, shooting 3-over par 38 on both the front nine and back nine. She fired a birdie on par-4 hole 17, a double bogey on par-3 hole 16, but finished her round with 11 pars.
"Being consistent really helps me," she said. "I hate having just one or two really, really bad holes, but if the rest of them are consistent, that will give me more confidence to push through the rest of the round."
On a day when her drives were exceptionally straight and her chips were "surprisingly good," Goodling’s short game left her frustrated at times. Still, Goodling was feeling good about things after carding 3-over on the front nine.
"(The greens) are tricky enough to keep me on my toes," she said, "and a 38 on the front, I was pretty happy with that and I was hoping that would get me some sort of medal."
Goodling remained at 3-over as late as hole 14 and then she added an exclamation point by sinking a three-foot birdie putt on hole 17.
"I hit my drive pretty straight, it was normal for the day, I guess," Goodling recalled. "Then my approach shot, I stuck it to about three feet, maybe. The whole day, I’d been lipping those putts out or missing them. There were only a few that I made. So going into that hole, I was really scared. But walking up to it, I was like, ‘OK, I have to focus, I can make this, it’s easy,’ and I made it and I was happy."
In her third trip to Districts next weekend, Goodling will be happy if she can qualify once again for the PIAA Eastern Regionals. In meantime, she will try to just relax and keep her game sharp.
"I just want to make it to Regionals – I just want to keep playing, I don’t want to get out yet," Goodling said. "It will be nice to just have a week off to relax and practice some things. By Thursday, I might be a little nervous, but I think I’ll be OK."
Bowman was better than OK on Monday, shooting two birdies on the front nine while reaching the turn at 5-over and then finishing with an 83 to qualify for Districts. He tied with Manheim Township’s Chris North and Walter Kirk, Northern Lebanon’s Carl Johnson III and Cocalico’s Garrett Strunk for 19th place.
More GOODLING, page B-10