Gering senior Madi Schlaepfer had a stellar junior season finishing fifth at the state tournament.
This year, Schlaepfer has taken her game to new heights shooting a 67, a Gering school record, at the Lexington Golf Invite on Friday, Sept. 11.
On Tuesday, Schlaepfer followed that up with a 76 at the Gering Golf Invite at Monument Shadows Golf Course. Schlaepfer tied with Scottsbluff’s Emily Krzyzanowski for the lowest score of the tournament at 76. On the third playoff hole, Schlaepfer’s putt went slightly left, while Krzyzanowski sunk her putt to finish in first place.
She could have played better as well, she said.
“It’s not a bad round, but it wasn’t a great round,” Schlaepfer said.
Schlaepfer said she was her own enemy out on the course.
“I had high expectations (coming into the tournament) and I think that was part of the problem,” she said.
Schlaepfer said it came down to her short game.
“(When I scored a 67) I was just able to make birdies, and I had an eagle,” she said. “Today, I was able to make those birdies. I struggled putting a little bit.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 1, Schlaepfer claimed her second straight Western Conference title by shooting a 75 at the Scottsbluff Golf Invitational at the Scotts Bluff Country Club.
Schlaepfer said she didn’t realize the Scottsbluff Invite would also be the Western Conference meet this season.
“I honestly didn’t know where it was because it wasn’t on our schedule,” she said. “When coach (Jessica Boswell) told me, it really shocked me. I just knew I was going to have to grind to win.”
Schlaepfer said it was satisfying to accomplish one of her goals this season by defending her Western Conference title.
“It’s pretty awesome,” she said. “Last year, it was super windy and I didn’t play the greatest. Today, I feel like I played pretty great. To be Western Conference champ back-to-back is pretty exciting.”
Schlaepfer said getting the win didn’t really enter her mind much during the tournament. She just knew she would have to outplay Scottsbluff’s Anna Kelley and Emily Krzyzanowski.
“I just thought about it in terms of what the other girls were doing,” she said. “I was playing to the best of my ability. If I wasn’t going to win, at least I was still playing well, and (either Kelley or Krzyzanowski) had a better day. They’re my friends, so that wouldn’t have bothered me.”
That isn’t to say that she doesn’t feel a sense of competitiveness toward Kelley and Krzyzanowski.
“I still feel as competitive toward them even if they are friends,” she said. “I feel like there’s more fight between us, because we know we’re all good and we’re all friends. So, it really pushes each of us to grind harder on the golf course.”
Despite getting the win, Schlaepfer said she always has room to improve.
“I thought that my drive off the tee box was good,” she said. “I struggled with my second shot today, but I do feel like my putting has gotten better from my last tournament.”
Schlaepfer said she feels like her game is getting better with each meet they play.
“In Sidney, I was really struggling and was able to stay in the 70s. I feel like I can get down to the low 70s. I feel like it’s going to be a great season,” she said.
No doubt, Schlaepfer’s goal is win the state tournament. The NSAA announced on Monday that they selected Monument Shadows over the Scotts Bluff Country Club to host this year’s tournament.
“It’s just going to be awesome already knowing the course,” she said.
Schlaepfer said she feels like she has an advantage since it is one of her two home courses — she is a member of Monument Shadows and the Scotts Bluff Country Club.
Schlaepfer said it could be easy to be over-confident playing at home, but that won’t be the case for her.
“You just have to treat it like it’s any other golf course and play your game,” she said.
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