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Central High School

Girls Golf

TONY CASTRO Hernando Today correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:16 PM

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Team-wise it was no contest Thursday afternoon along the front nine of the manicured World Woods Golf Club's Pine Barrens 2,607-yard layout.

Four-time defending Hernando County champion Springstead claimed its 28th straight win by default.

The host Lady Eagles climbed to 5-0 this fall with their second straight nine-hole 188 total. Springstead defeated Weeki Wachee on Tuesday at The Dunes, 188-265.

Springstead's last loss was to visiting Lecanto at World Woods on Sept. 30, 2009, 218-227.

Visiting the Central Bears (1-5-1) officially recorded no team score as only two healthy players were available: seniors Stephanie Rodney and Kaleigh Gibbs.

A recent flu bug left the Lady Bears without three players – Casey Baril, Kristen Kuffner and Emilee Leathers.

Though the Lady Bears arrived short-handed, there was no lack of drama.

The match pitted two of the county's finest linksters – three-time defending county champion and Player of the Year Megan Berube of Springstead versus the 2011 county runner-up Rodney – who squared off for the first time this season.

In the highlight matchup, Berube nipped Rodney, 39-40.

After Berube, Springstead senior Emma Betters and junior Kiki Schau shot identical 49s, followed by junior Kylie Van Meter (51) and senior Kearstin Yarbrough (57).

Berube and Van Meter came within one shot of tying their seasonal bests, while Yarbrough notched her personal best.

"There was a lot of slicing and dicing for me off tees," described the 17-year-old Berube, whose round featured no birdies and three bogeys on three par-4 holes: No. 5, No. 8, and No. 9. "The course played fine.

"Everything's dry; you get a lot of rolls here," added Berube. "The greens are playing really fast."

Berube, who entered the week pacing the county in scoring averaging 40.7 strokes per nine holes, sees plenty of room for improvement.

"My game isn't where I want it to be," said Berube, who dropped 30 pounds in the offseason. "Right now, I've got to work on my driver. Mom says I'm lifting my chin as I swing – which has affected my swing."

On edging Rodney, Berube said, "She's a good competitor. She definitely keeps me in order. Right now, I'm taking it as it goes; there are a lot more difficult matches down the road. Personally, I just love to play against her."

Berube was asked about her streaking teammates, saying, "Our team goal is to reach states. We're all aiming high. Back-to-back 188s is absolutely fantastic. The best we shot last year was 194, so we're headed in the right direction.

"There's no drama with this team," identified Berube as to the strength of the Springstead squad. "We're pretty family-oriented. Probably what I like most is we give each other so much support – it really means a lot in an individual sport."

Despite the setback, Central head coach Vicki Weaver took the proceedings in stride.

"I thought things went well. I know Stephanie was disappointed with a couple holes, but that's golf," shrugged Weaver. "She was in the middle of a personal lesson today before deciding to play. She really wants to break 40 real bad.

"I thought she really needed to be out here and compete against Megan (Berube). Good competition brings out the best in everybody. We only have two more matches next week before the county meet (Oct. 9 at The Heather)."

Hernando County's defending Coach of the Year Kathleen Long beamed from ear-to-ear following her Springstead team's performance.

"Right now, we're playing beautifully," she said. "This group of girls is so talented and not just in golf. We're number six in the state academically. It's a sight to behold seeing a bunch of girls really involved in their schoolwork and then see such cohesion on a golf course."

Noting her team's improvements, "We're all pretty strong off the tees – which helps so much," said Coach Long. "We're still working on placement and club selection. Those little refinements mean so much.

"And the girls love playing here. We've played here for seven years. World Woods has been so kind to us. Scott (Wyckoff) and Roger (Kirby) treat these kids like adults. In turn, the kids have been courteous and respectful of the tremendous facilities here."

Springstead 188, Central NTS

CEN (NTS) – Stephanie Rodney 40, Kaleigh Gibbs 75.

SPG (188) – Megan Berube 39, Kiki Schau 49, Emma Betters 49, Kylie Van Meter 51, Kearstin Yarbrough 57.

Records – Central (1-5-1), Springstead (5-0).

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