CORNELIUS – There was little doubt about who was the best golfer in the MECKA 4A conference this fall.
Hough High’s Bailey Jones, a senior, averaged almost three strokes better than any conference competitor by playing consistently well all season. She is The Herald Weekly Girls Golfer of the Year.
Jones’ average score was 39.83 in nine-hole competitions. While other golfers had a round or two they’d like to forget – a 53 here or a 55 there – Jones’ scorecard was a level portrait of a golfer who didn’t let rounds slip away from her.
In the seven conference tournaments, she shot between 38 and 47. In the first six events, five scores were 39, 40 or 41. She proved she was human with the 47, but closed the regular season with a score of 38 at The Traditional, to win the conference individual championship.
Jones was named the conference player of the year.
“Bailey was very consistent this season with her play and her scores,” Hough coach Julee Sovesky said. “She has really elevated her game since last year and having a season scoring average below 40 shows it. Her biggest strength is her length. She hits the ball further than the other girls in the conference and gives her great advantage to hitting greens in regulation with short irons and transferring those to birdies and/or easy pars.”
Jones, a co-captain for Hough, was a good role model for teammates, Soveksy said.
Jones’ 39.83 scoring average finished ahead of Hough teammates Renee Janis (42) and Tessa Young (42.33) as the Huskies had the conference’s top three scorers. Hough coasted to the team conference title and finished 164 strokes ahead of second-place Mallard Creek. Jones usually was first or second at every event.
“Since last season, she has gained consistency in her ball striking, converting more ups and downs around greens to save par,” Sovesky said. “Also, she has become an excellent player of the game. Being able to play golf is totally different than being able to hit golf balls.”
Jones’ grasp of the game probably helped her learn that it can be a humbling, unforgiving sport. After the spectacular regular season, Jones stumbled and shot an uncharacteristic score of 96 (over 18 holes) at the N.C. 4A West regional tournament. It meant she didn’t qualify for the state tournament. It wasn’t the way she wanted the season to end, but it didn’t take much of the luster off her months’ of steady golfing.
Herald Weekly 2013 Girls Golfer of the Year
Julee Soveksy has built Hough High’s golf program from its infancy. In four seasons, she’s molded the Huskies into a pretty strong group. Soveksy’s golfers won the MECKA 4A conference championship and she is The Herald Weekly Girls Golf Coach of the Year.
The Huskies won the conference title by a whopping 164 strokes and had the conference’s top three golfers. Hough finished fourth at the N.C. 4A West Regional tournament, but only the top three teams qualified for the state tournament. For the second straight year, Soveksy’s squad send two golfers to the state tournament to compete individually – sophomore Renee Janis and senior Tessa Young.