One Nation to state
Monett golfer makes history with 8th place district finish
Monett junior Claire Nation made history for the Lady Cubs golf team on Monday, taking 8th at the Class 2, District 3 Tournament and becoming the first Monett girl ever to qualify for state.
“It feels pretty good,” she said. “It’s hard to think about it that way, [being the first ever], because since I was a freshman, golf was always my thing. It’s especially good to be the first to make state and to be one of the founding members of the girls golf team.”
Nation and the rest of the district field had to battle chilly temperatures and windy conditions at the tournament, held at the Cassville Golf Club.
“When I walked up to practice my putting and driving, [the wind] was insane,” Nation said. “I was thinking it would die down by my tee time at 10 a.m., and it did a little bit. As I played, I kind of just forgot about it and adjusted to it. I also was in a great group, so we were talking and having fun the whole time.”
Brian Cox, Monett golf coach, said he was so excited for Nation, he made himself tired on Oct. 12.
“I couldn’t sleep [Monday night],” he said. “I’m so excited, mostly because Claire has been a player every year, starting three years ago, and to see her get better and better every year and work at it and see it pay off. Making state is not an easy task.
“I’m happy for her as a coach, and I hope this is a good step for the program and some more kids will come up next year after seeing what’s possible if you work hard during the offseason like Claire has.”
Cox said the district itself was strong. Nation scored a 99 (+27), and the tournament’s winner was Emeree Cameron, of Nevada, who scored a 78 (+6). The last state qualifier shot a 116 (+44).
“Claire beat a lot of girls that have shot about the same as her all year,” Cox said. “Her mental toughness in those conditions really helped. She played confident and did not get frustrated with a bad shot. She was always looking ahead to the next shot.”
Nation said going into the final two rounds of her year, Monday and Tuesday at the Columbia Country Club in Columbia, hew focus is largely on the greens.
“My goal is to shoot in the low 90s and to be consistent front to back,” she said. “I definitely need to work on putting, but I will get that figured out.”
Cox agreed that the short game is the biggest area of concern.
“Claire could spend all day working on the putting green,” he said. “Her swing is so consistent driving and with her irons that she won’t lose much there, but the greens in Columbia will be bigger, so there will be longer chip and putts, and they may be faster.”
Nation said she’s excited to get to work next week, and next year.
“It’s been a great year so far, and I’m glad we had the team we did,” she said. “I’m already looking forward to next year.”