The season begins Monday for the Siloam Springs golf teams as the Panthers and Lady Panthers travel to Mountain Home to compete in the Ultimate Autogroup High School Invitational Monday and Tuesday at Big Creek Golf & Country Club.
The tournament is 18 holes each day for college players only, for a total of 36 holes in the very first competition of the season.
“We’re off to a strong start,” said second-year SSHS golf coach Brooke DeGaish.
The Panthers have three returning seniors on the boy roster in Nathan Vachon, Camden Blackfox and Will Van Asche.
Vachon, who is an all-state basketball player, drives the ball really far, DeGaish said. He also improved his chipping and putting, she said.
Blackfox and Van Asche also improved, she said.
“We’ll see how the scores play out,” she said. Right now, at the start of the season, they all seem pretty ready to go.”
Sophomore Landon Pool is also expected to be part of the varsity mix, as is rookie AJ Moore.
DeGaish said Moore was penciled in the top spot heading into the season.
“He’s got a great swing and he’s really consistent,” she said. “He’s got a really cool head, and that’s what I like about him. The best club you have is the one between your ears. I tell him that a lot.”
DeGaish said Moore lacked tournament experience and the biggest learning curve for him would be managing the classes and gaining that experience.
“He has all the skills to be a really good golfer and be useful to our team,” she said.
Corbin Crook, Jack Birr and Jackson Doornbos should play some in junior college, she said.
The Lady Panthers return to veterans at seniors Brooke Smith, Bailey Morris and MacKenzie Sontag and sophomore Reese Sutulovich.
“Those are my four solid girls,” DeGaish said.
Smith, a college basketball prospect, is among the team’s best hitters.
“Anytime she hits well, she’s definitely able to shoot below 90,” DeGaish said. “It’s kind of a consistency for her. … She hits the ball a mile, and any time she can keep it straight, with her massively improved chipping and puttingt, she has the potential to score really well. .”
Morris is recovering from a knee injury and has taken lessons to help him regain his swing, DeGaish said.
“She also hits the ball really well,” DeGaish said.
Sontag and Sutulovich also improved, she said.
“Reese will hit the ball a mile every time she really goes for it,” she said.
Basketball star Brooke Ross has joined the team and will compete for playing time with Bailey Church and Jasmine Labitad.