Golf team could be conference contenders

Published 10:57 am Thursday, August 15, 2019

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With three impact players back from a team that finished third in the Central Piedmont Conference in 2018, Davie girls golf could be ready for a leap in 2019.

Coach Bob Donley said: “If my top three (juniors Kyleigh Harnsberger and Caroline Bliss and sophomore Annika McDaniel) play to their potential, we could have a pretty good season.”

There’s no question about who the heart and soul of Davie is.  As a freshman, Harnsberger made All-CPC by finishing seventh in the league standings with a 45-stroke average on nine holes. As a sophomore, she repeated as All-CPC by finishing fifth in the league with a 40.1 nine-hole average. She carded an astounding 3-under 34 at Maple Chase Country Club. In the state meet at Pinehurst, she tied for 29th out of 78 players.

Donley: “I think (Harnsberger will be even better as a junior) just because of maturity. She played a lot through June. She’s taken a little bit of a break so she wouldn’t be burned out.”

Davie’s third place in 2018 was its best finish in eight years. Reagan, which celebrated the 4-A state championship, ruled the CPC with 687 strokes. Second-place Reynolds (813) finished 26 shots ahead of Davie.

Donley: “Reagan had a really good freshman last year. Their coach told me they’ve picked up a rising freshman that’s going to be just as good as (the rising sophomore) is. So they’ve got at least two (strong players). They graduated a lot of their players, and so did (fourth-place) West Forsyth. Reynolds has their No. 1 player back. I think she’s going to be (the backbone) of their team.”

Davie could be a legitimate contender for a top-two spot in 2019 because there are strong pieces around Harnsberger. As a freshman, McDaniel made All-CPC by finishing 11th with a 48.9 average. She became the third Davie freshman to make all-conference in the program’s 17-year history. She was also a state qualifier.

As a sophomore, Bliss turned in rounds of 43 and 48 and reached the state.

Donley: “Through practices so far, Kyleigh, Annika and Caroline seem to be picking right up where we left off last season. Caroline seems to have improved a lot. She’s worked on her game a lot this summer. Once soccer was over, she’s been at it pretty good.”

Donley has five newcomers: juniors Ryan Fussell and Abby Howerton; sophomores Krystal Davis and Rylea Crotts; and freshman Emerson Vanzant.

Vanzant and Davis are the most prominent newcomers.

Donley: “Emerson’s just picked up the game, but she’s showing a good bit of potential. I’m glad to have her as a freshman. Krystal played basketball; she’s an athlete. She’s got a good bit of potential as well. So I have two young players that have a lot of potential.”