Ali Schrock is top golfer at sectional; sister Dani Grace is third
One of the responsibilities of an older sibling is to teach the younger one how things are done. Ali Schrock has done just that this high school girls’ golf season, showing younger sister Dani Grace Schrock how to make it through the treacherous postseason to the state finals.
Ali Schrock, the defending Class A state champion, will return to Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur to defend her title this coming weekend. And, Dani Grace Schrock will be making the trip to push her older sister toward a repeat.
Ali Schrock, a senior, made it through a soggy Elks Club Golf Course with an even-par 72 to win medalist honors Monday. She took the individual title by five strokes over Eureka’s Carolyn Pacocha (77). Dani Grace Schrock was the other player to break 80 as the PTHS freshman fired a 79 for third overall.
It was actually a Pontiac-Eureka top four as Allison Pacocha tied for fourth with an 81. Nikki Schmitt of Sherrard also shot 81 to complete the top five.
“We’re really close and she looks up to me. It’s really cool, it’s fun,” said Ali Schrock regarding playing with Dani Grace at this level. “It feels good (to beat her) but I’m glad she’s coming along, it will be fun. It’s nice to have someone there with me.”
As for being second fiddle this time, the younger Schrock is taking it in stride.
“It’s definitely nice to have someone show me. It’s nice to have someone there beside to help me,” Dani Grace Schrock said.
Having both Schrocks at state could mean a little history, although the Pacochas are also a sister tandem in the finals. As for the Pontiac young ladies, they both are looking forward to being together on the state’s biggest stage.
“I’ve been there watching her, so I know a little bit about it,” Dani Grace Schrock said. “It’s two days, so I have to be more consistent. I think it will be more fun than junior high.”
“It’s a different feeling, especially when you get to Decatur,” Ali Schrock noted. “Everything feels different. She will help me out a little bit.”
Ali Schrock has been on a roll of late, and Monday was just another day on the course as she played with the consistency of a veteran.
“My putting was not very good today, but I was able to get it on the green and keep it in play,” Ali Schrock said. “Nothing was really spectacular today. I knew the ball on the green was stopping, that helped me.”
Schrock’s round was rather pedestrian in the beginning, going par, par, par. But a hiccup on the par 3 fourth hole resulted in a bogey.
However, the cool demeanor and positive approach on the difficult fifth hole, the No.1 handicap hole on the par 72 course, resulted in a birdie, so she was back to even.
Schrock stayed that way through the next two holes but appeared to be in a bit of trouble on the par 3 eighth hole. Her tee shot ended up off the green, well above the cup and with a harrowing downhill, breaking look.
Her chip took to the green and followed its path toward the cup. It hit the flag stick and plopped in for the birdie 2.
“I was a little bit nervous, this green’s always a tough one,” Schrock said of No. 8. “But I just let it roll down the hill and it went in.”
Things were going well during despite a long afternoon of hitting and waiting and not really getting to find a rhythm. After finishing even on the front, Schrock started out par, par, birdie on the back. Two more pars had her at two-under 54 with four holes to play.
But if there is something Schrock would like to have different, it was going two over on those final four holes. She bogeyed the par 5 15th and the par 4 17th. However, a solid par putt on the difficult 18th completed the round on an even scale.
“It’s always nice to win, so I’m just hoping to play some good golf next weekend and whatever happens happens,” Schrock said.
Dani Grace Schrock was having a little more erratic round, something not uncommon for a freshman playing at this level. Her biggest issue was not really scoring. And, as every golfer knows, that hole that comes up and bites hard to shoot the score up.
“I was hitting decently, I wasn’t missing many fairways and I hit most greens,” Dani Grace Schrock said. “I really didn’t have too many bad holes, but when I did it was like a double.”
She started the day off in good fashion by recording pars on the first two holes, but a bogey on the par 5 three and another on the par 3 fourth set the freshman back. After stringing four pars in a row, there was that one really good shot that turned out bad.
Schrock’s tee shot on the ninth hole was well struck … too well struck. It went through the fairway and found its way into the pond off the far end of the fairway. Schrock took a double-bogey six for a 40 on the front.
Still, there was confidence in the young linkster. She played the first six holes on the back nine even. She wobbled on No. 16 when she made 4 on the par 3. She tripped on the next hole with a double 6 on the par 4.
But Schrock was able to finish strong with solid par on the 18th for a 39 on the back. Knowledge of the course allowed for solid course management.
“It was nice to have the benefit of knowing the course and knowing I can play well on this course and have a chance of qualifying of going to state,” Schrock said. “My main goal was to qualify for state and play better that I did at regionals. I figured for regionals I would make it out, but for sectionals, I was just trying to play well and qualify for state. State is a whole clean slate.”