Both Greenwood High School golf teams are on a roll so far in 2020. The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs are both competing for conference championships this fall with an eye on making a run at a state title at the 5A level. The teams are coached by Ronnie Sockey (girls) and Tyler Woods (boys).
After beginning their season the first week of August at a tournament in Mountain Home, they have played matches against teams from Fort Smith Northside, Alma, Siloam Springs, Russellville, and Bentonville before taking a week off from competition for the start of classes on the 24th.
Northside & Alma
The second week of August Greenwood opened its home season by hosting Fort Smith Northside and Alma for a three-way match at Vache Grasse Country Club, though Alma didn’t have enough golfers to qualify for the team competition that requires at least three female and four male players.
The GHS boys easily outdistanced the Northside Grizzlies by a score of 158-232, led by match medalist Brady Fein with a nine-hole round of 36. He was followed by fellow senior Ethan Clark (39), and juniors Chris Daggs (40) and Hayden Weaver (43). Bulldogs’ junior varsity players Deacon Drennan (45), Jake Baxley (47), Riley Wann (47), and Jake Spoon (51) also played but did not figure in the team scoring.
For the Lady Bulldogs, juniors Hallie Jones and Grace Woody led the way to a 131-181 team victory over the Lady Bears. Both girls carded a 43, followed by senior Olivia Walker at 45. JV players Maggie Leonard (58), Maleigha Carney (59), Carsyn Holland (60), and Jessie Williams (64) also competed for Greenwood.
Later the same week the GHS linksters hosted the Panthers and Lady Panthers of Siloam Springs in 5A West conference play, winning both halves of the match, though the visitor’s scores were unavailable.
Hayden Weaver led the way for the Bulldogs with an 18-hole round of 73. Brady Fein was next at 80 followed by Ethan Clark at 81 and Chris Daggs at 84. That varsity quartet carded a team score of 318. Junior varsity players Wann (98), Baxley (102), Spoon (102), and Drennon (105) also competed. Landry Gamble (64) and Railin Jordan (67) played nine holes for Greenwood.
For the Lady Bulldogs, Grace Woody fired an 85 and Hallie Jones an 86. Olivia Walker was third with a 93 for a team total of 264. Leonard (58), Williams (60), and Carney (61) also played for the GHS girls.
Russellville - Greenbrier
On September 18th both GHS teams played an 18-hole match with Russellville and Greenbrier at Russellville Country Club, winning both contests handily. The GHS ladies bested second-place Russellville by 20 strokes, while the GHS boys topped the Cyclones by 37 strokes.
The Lady Bulldogs shot an 18-hole total of 255, including the combined scores of Hallie Jones (84), Grace Woody (85), Olivia Walker (86). Maggie Leonard also competed, carding a 117, but her score did not count in the team total. The Russellville girls completed their home course in 275 strokes, followed by Greenbrier at 370.
Four Greenwood boys combined for a score of 307, followed by Russellville (344) and Greenbrier (353). For the Bulldogs, Brady Fein led the way with a 70, followed by Ethan Clark at 74. Chris Daggs was next at 77, followed by Hayden Weaver at 86. Avery Cole (93) and Riley Wann (97) also competed but did not figure in the team scoring.
“I was very impressed with Brady Fein shooting even par at Russellville,” said Head Coach Tyler Woods. “We played their top nine [holes] twice (par 35), but Brady hit seven birdies and a lot of pars to shoot even. If Brady continues to play this well, he has a chance to win medalist at our conference tournament and give our team a good shot at winning state.
“I was also happy with Ethan Clark's 74 and Chris Daggs’ 77. Any day we can get three scores in the 70's isn't just a good day, it’s a great day,” continued Woods. “Those guys were firing on all cylinders, and that's what it's going to take if they want to bring home any hardware this year.
“It was [also] nice competing against a couple of conference teams. Russellville is much improved, and they will compete well at conference. Greenbrier has some young talent too, so there should be some parody at our conference tournament. It’s going to come down to who puts in more work between now and then,” the coach added.
The 5A West conference golf match will be held September 22nd at the Cypress Creek course in Cabot. The top three teams and individual qualifiers will then compete at boys’ state at Big Creek in Mountain Home on October 5th.
Two days later, on the 20th, the Greenwood linksters traveled north to the Highlands course in Bella Vista to take on Class 6A Bentonville in non-conference play. The Lady Bulldogs faced a tough challenge against the defending 6A state champs, but defeated the Lady Tigers by four strokes, 131-135. The GHS boys fell to Bentonville, 180-144, over nine holes.
The overall medalist among the girls was Greenwood’s Olivia Walker who carded a 42. She was followed by Grace Woody (44) and Hallie Jones (45) to round out the team scoring. Maleigha Carney (64), Maggie Leonard (72), and Laci Cox (73) also competed.
“Our girls are playing [well] right now, but we still have some things to improve on,” said Lady Bulldogs Head Coach Ronnie Sockey. “Our top three players have all taken turns as a medalist for different matches, and that’s what it will take for us to be successful in the conference and state tournaments.
“At Russellville, our team score for our top three [players] was 84, 85, and 86. All right there together. As a team score that’s really close to where we want to be. We want to get it down between 250-255 at conference, so we are close.
“We played a really tough course [against] Bentonville,” continued Sockey. “Playing at the Highlands in Bella Vista is one of the toughest [courses] in that area. Our girls got off to a rough start, but all three finished well.
“We are super proud of Olivia Walker, our medalist there with a 42. Then again, Hallie Jones (45) and Grace Woody (44) were right there too. We were able to come away with a big win over 4-time state champions. It came down to Walker's group and Bentonville's final girl to determine the team win.
“It was an exciting day, with our girls able to congratulate Olivia as she finished with a great tee shot on the par three #9 hole. She knocked it to within 10 feet of the hole, [making] a tough putt [for] par to beat the girl she was playing with,” said the coach.
Against Bentonville, the GHS boys were once again led by Brady Fein with a score of 43, followed by Ethan Clark (44), Hayden Weaver (46), and Chris Daggs (47). Avery Cole (51), Jake Baxley (50), Jake Spoon (54), and Riley Wann (59) also competed as reserves.
“We had this week off with school starting back, but we are ready to finish strong. We are about a month away from the conference and state [tournaments],” said Coach Sockey.
The Greenwood girls and boys are scheduled to resume play this week, returning to the Highlands course in Bella Vista to take on Bentonville-West on Wednesday, September 3rd, before hosting Fort Smith Southside at Vache Grasse on Thursday.