By Ryan Kaczmarski
Magnificat sophomore Ali Nageotte finished the state golf tournament at The Gray Course in Columbus with a score of 75, which was good enough for third place (individually) and helped her team to sixth place overall in Ohio Division I play.
She went into the state tournament as the No. 1 seed and showed that she deserved the seeding with her 36-hole final score of 149.
“Knowing that I was one shot off the lead going into the final round was constantly on my mind the night before,” Nageotte said. “In the morning I tried not to think about it and focus on the task ahead, to shoot a good score and see how far that score could take me. I could not have put myself in a much better position to win the tournament.”
Geneva freshman Danielle Nicholson won the tournament with a final round of 70.
“The round felt like it took five days to finish, rather than five hours,” Nageotte said. “It was a long and stressful day, but after the round was over I was thrilled.”
During the round, on the fourth hole (par 3), she had to wait on the tee box for about 25 minutes.
“I went up to the tee and hit a very poor shot and took a double-bogey on the hole,” she said. “I was upset but I knew that there was plenty of holes left and I put it behind me very quickly.”
She bogeyed holes seven and 15, and scored a par on 16 and 17. She hit a drive that was 80 yards out on 18. With 60-70 people on the hole watching, she “chunked” the approach shot.
“On the 18th hole I was very nervous,” she said. “My hands were shaking the most they did all day.”
Her next shot was a chip that left her 20 feet away from the hole, and fairly straight. Her put was a few inches left of the hole, and she tapped in for a bogey.
“I knew I put a good round together and was eager to see how I stood with the rest of the field,” Nageotte said. “When I found out I came in third, I was overjoyed. I went over to my dad and gave him a big hug. I noticed that he was crying, so of course I started crying too.”
“She had a tremendous showing at the state tournament,” Magificat head coach Katy Kahler said. “She was able to maintain focus on her game and play solid golf.”
Nageotte is part of the very young Magnificat team that features freshmen Jillian Hollis and Julia Gentner, and sophomore Cara Kelly. They are losing Alley Vonderau, the lone senior on the team, to graduation this year.
“Looking back on the season, I am very proud of our team,” Nageotte said. “We knew we had a pretty good team going into the season. When we needed to step up, we did.”
“Our team had success this season because of the consistency of our top three players (Nageotte, Hollis and Kelley),” Kahler said. “Our goal next season will be to strengthen our team at the No. 4 and No. 5 spots for greater consistency. We have a young team and I look forward to improvement next season.”
The season Magnificat had this year, especially the run to the state tournament, boosted the confidence of the team.
“The experience will absolutely help me in years to come,” Nageotte said. “Every time I am playing in a big tournament I can look back and say, ‘You’ve been in this situation before, and look how you performed.’
“The feeling at the state tournament is incomparable to any other tournament,” she added. “Not only do you want to perform for yourself, but you also want to represent your school well.
“We have a great group of girls and a great coach in Mrs. Kahler,” she said. “It feels good to know that we are such a young team and have a few more years ahead of us.”
Nageotte plans to take a break from golf in the offseason to focus on her school work. She will go hit balls occasionally during the winter, but she does not want to get “golfed out”.
She also plays basketball for Magnificat. Last year she played on the freshman team and intends to play junior varsity this year.
“I love basketball because it is a change of pace from golf,” she said. “Even though I love golf, it can be stressful and make me uptight.”
Nageotte works with swing coach Judd Stephenson.
“Not only is he my swing coach, but he helps me so much with the mental aspects of the golf game,” she said. “Everything we worked on all year long came together (in Columbus), and it was great that he was there to see it.”