Republic sent two golfers to the state sectional tournament in Kansas City. Next week, they’ll send two to the state tournament in Bolivar.
Both Clara Fronabarger and Regan Holmes qualified for state with their best rounds of the season. Fronabarger shot an 84 and Holmes came in at 92. That’s an improvement of nine strokes for Fronabarger compared to her finish at districts in Joplin a week ago. It’s an improvement of 15 strokes for Holmes, who barely made the cut to advance with a 107 last week.
“I definitely think my putting and chipping improved [from last week],” said Fronabarger, who finished fifth overall. “Today’s greens were a little slower, which helped me, because they’re more like Island Green’s. I was just more consistent.”
Holmes said she knew she had the talent to advance to state, but needed a strong day mentally to put up a qualifying score.
“My putting and chipping had to be better, because that’s what killed me [last week]. I knew my drives had to be more consistent … but If I could stay calm even if I had a bad hole, I knew I would be all right.”
Fronabarger and Holmes started on the course’s back nine, and coach Curt Plotner knew at the midway point they both had a good chance to advance.
“They both played the back nine pretty well, and I knew Clara was way ahead of pace. She shot 42 on her first nine holes. 90 was the number I thought would be close. Reagan shot 44, so I knew they both had a shot,” he said. I was bouncing back and forth trying to coach them through some of the tougher holes.”
Fronabarger, who got a late start this season because of an injury she suffered last spring, said she was surprised to qualify for state. “I guess it … proves that I can still be just as good or even better through the injury,” she said.
Holmes, who hit a rough patch during the last few holes of the day but still managed to advance, said she learned something about herself. “It got in my head that ‘I need to shoot this score’ to be in a comfortable position. I think the pressure got to me,” she said. “I learned today that I do a lot better, even if I hit a bad shot, if I refocus, calm down, and play hole by hole and don’t worry about the last one.”
Both golfers are especially happy to have a teammate along with them on their state journey.
“I’m just super excited for the experience because I’ve never been to a state golf tournament, even to watch,” said Fronabarger. “I’m really excited I get to go with Regan, because she makes everything more fun.”
“I’m really excited that I get to go and play with Clara,” Holmes said. “It will be an exciting experience because I’ve never been to state for anything before.”
This is the first time since 2013 that Republic has taken two golfers to the girls state tournament. That year, Baylee Rayl and Bailey Cornelison both qualified.
The state golf tournament is set for Monday and Tuesday at Silo Ridge in Bolivar.
Edited to correct both sectional scores. ￼￼