Smith back where is all started

Published 1:14 pm Friday, September 11, 2015

Dowagiac senior Kelsey Smith played her last Wolverine Conference match at Indian Lake Hills Golf Course Wednesday.

Smith helped the Chieftains to an eighth place finish with a team-low round of 54.

Dowagiac will play one more non-conference match against Lake Michigan Catholic later this year.

Smith has played four years of varsity golf for the Chieftains — two under former Dowagiac coach Van Johnson and her junior and senior year under coach Bob Turner.

A lot has change over the four years.

“She is in her fourth year on varsity and her lack of confidence was her problem early in her career,” Turner said. “But now she knows she can do it and is playing some good golf. I think she has a good shot at getting down into the 40s by the end of the year.”

“My game has gotten better,” Smith said. “My coach has helped me a lot with fixing my swing and not getting so frustrated. I feel a lot more confident. I was a scared little freshman four years ago and now I am not so scared anymore.”

Turner said that Wednesday’s round at the jamboree hosted by the Chieftains had a similarity to Smith’s career.

“Kelsey struggled early, but held it together for a good round,” he said. “She has done a good job this year of recovering from a bad hole here and there.”

“I get nervous easily, but once I get playing I feel better and a lot less nervous. My sister came to watch me yesterday and I got nervous, but then I thought I played with her my freshman year and all my life and I shouldn’t be stressed about it. Once I decided that I played much better.”

Led by Katie Horn’s 45, Sturgis captured the jamboree at Indian Lake Hills Wednesday.

The win pulled the Trojans even with Plainwell for first place in the conference after six jamborees. Sturgis and Plainwell are tied with 43 points each.

Sturgis finished with a team score of 192, while Allegan was second with a 205 and Otsego third with a 211. Dowagiac finished seventh with a 248.

Erin Taylor of Three Rivers was medalist with a 42.

Kelsey Smith led Dowagiac with a 54. Alyssa Allen finished with a 55, which included a birdie.

“We keep improving as 248 is our best score of the year,” Dowagiac coach Bob Turner said. “Last night was the third match in a row in which we improved our score from the previous. We are now tied with Vicksburg for seventh in the league, so we have something to work on the next couple matches.

“It would be nice to move up in the standings. Having the home match was nice, but the girls were a little nervous knowing that we should shoot well at home and there were also people watching that they know. Alyssa had her best round of the year and had a birdie on the tough par 3 No. 5 over the pond.”