BLOOMINGTON — On a day of high wind and high numbers, Pontiac High School’s Ali Schrock kept the ball low Wednesday in the Class 1A Central Catholic Regional at Prairie Vista Golf Course.
Her score stayed low as well … really low.
The defending 1A state champion shot a 3-under par 69 to earn medalist honors by 11 strokes.
“It was definitely experience,” she said of the key to her round. “I’ve played in some tough conditions and it’s a matter of keeping it in the fairway.
“When I hit shots to the green I try to knock it down … take an extra club and knock it down so it won’t be affected as much (by the wind).”
Schrock, a senior, gained confidence immediately.
“I started with a birdie and then I was par, par, par,” she said. “I was like, ‘I think I can do this.’ I was hitting it well.”
Among the highlights was a near eagle on the par-5 16th. She was the top individual qualifier not on an advancing team for Monday’s Pontiac Sectional. Peoria Notre Dame won with a 366 and will be joined in the sectional by Central Catholic (374) and Metamora (384).
Schrock, who is still mulling her college choice, can’t wait for Monday.
“I’ll be playing on my home turf after shooting a good score,” she said. “I feel pretty confident.”
The three-way tie for second at 80 included Eureka freshman Allison Pacocha. She was joined by Peoria Notre Dame’s Sidney Jockisch and IVC’s Elaine Grant.
Taking fifth was Eureka senior Carolyn Pacocha, Allison’s sister, with an 82. Other area individual qualifiers were Pontiac’s Dani Grace Schrock (84), Ali’s freshman sister, and El Paso-Gridley’s Makenna Parkhouse (89) and Emma Baker (99).
Allison Pacocha called the conditions “crazy,” saying, “My putter was always moving. The ball was never still.”
“I had to club up so many times and mentally I had to prepare to hit good shots,” she said. “I’d say that (80) was a pretty decent score. I’d never played in the first position before. That was a little more pressure added.”
Carolyn Pacocha not only battled the wind, but also began to feel ill on the back nine.
“I thought I played well considering,” she said. “It was really hard judging how the wind would affect the ball, especially on the back nine because it’s very open.
“I’m happy for (Allison). I hope to go to state with her.”
Central Catholic was led by sixth-place Katie Steinman’s 83. Madison Clark had a 92, Kylie Hundman a 96 and Faith Glazebrook and Francesca Lee came in at 103.
“It was a rough day … a lot of wind and heat,” Saints’ coach Dean Glesing said. “We didn’t perform as well as we expected to. But we’re advancing and I think we’ll do fine at the Elks. We are very familiar with that course. We typically score pretty well there.”