SAVOY — The 34th Illinois Junior Girls Golf Championship was held at the University of Illinois' Orange Course on Tuesday and Wednesday, but overcast skies and wet conditions painted a rather gray background.
Miranda Rohlfing, a 2013 St. Anthony graduate and to-be freshman at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, shrugged off some first-round miscues to improve her second round score by five strokes on the final day, shooting an 89-84 two-day total and capturing fourth in the tournament's second flight.
"Last night I went out [after the round] and worked on my driver," Rohlfing said. "I probably added 30-50 yards just from practicing, not cutting the ball like I was. That definitely helped me, it was already wet."
Rohlfing stumbled out of the gates to fire an opening-round 89 on Tuesday, 14 shots back of the leader and seven back from missing the championship flight. The cutoff for the first flight was 87.
"The ball wasn't going very far," Rohlfing said. "Everyone had that same problem."
The difference was in her approach shots, where Rohlfing struggled to hit greens in regulation.
"It was easy to stop them on the green," she said. "I was around the green, had to get up and down a lot."
In spite of early struggles, Rohlfing rebounded on Wednesday, thanks in large part to a reliable putting stroke.
"My putting went pretty well," she said. "I didn't make any real long putts, but only had one three-putt. I made a number of eight-footers."
Rohlfing was not particularly enthused with the end results, but her two-round total of 173 was just seven strokes back of flight winner Sarah Lyman.The championship flight winner was Renee Solberg, who shot two rounds at 75 to close at 150. Rohlfing said she used the tournament as another means to prepare for her freshman season with the Division II Tritons.
"I've been doing all these tournaments over the summer just to prepare," she added, "getting some new competition. That was really all it was about. I knew after the first day I wasn't going to win, I had to focus on just playing better."
Effingham junior Morgan Wilson also participated in the event, firing a two-round 198 with rounds of 95 and 103, respectively.The event is open to girls who are residents of Illinois, with a handicap of 40 or less and routinely score under 120 for 18 holes. Participants must also be under 19 years old and have not yet started college.
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at email@example.com