by: Darrell Jackson, Dalton Meade attempts to sink a put on the front nine during a recent Mount Hood Conference match.

Finishing the highest they have as a team all season, the Sandy girls galf team finished second at the Sandy High School girl's golf Invitatinal on Friday April 18 at the Resort at the Mountain. Sandy scored a team total 372 to finish second place to Tualatin, which totaled 323.

'The girls were very excited, as this was the best finish to date,' Sandy head coach Steve Shields said. 'This will give the girls a ton of confidence to finish the year strong, and I just told them how proud I was and how they have handled the elements and improved all season.'

Dalton Meade led the Pioneers, finishing with a season low socre of 84, enough to finish fourth overall. Meade, who has struggled in the past, made some excellent putts to keep her score low and gave herself a chance to finish high.

'She (Dalton) has improved in her short game so much this year is is great,' Shields said. 'Her putting just continues to get better and better.'

Sandy placed two golfers in the top ten for the first time this season as Taylor Shields finished tied for eighth.

'Taylor started the year shooting 131,126 and 131 so for her to get a top ten finish is amazing,' coach Shields said. 'The last three tournaments she has gotten stronger and stronger as a golfer.'

The girls golfed evenly throughout the tournament, scoring around the same on the front nine as they did on the back nine. All the girls struggled on the sixth hole of the tournament, struggling to break par but coach Shields didn't know why that particular hole was the biggest problem.

'I am not sure why Thistle #6 (the name of the course and hole number) was such a big problem for the girls. There was nothing inparticular, I just can't put my finger as to why that hole was so tough.'

Sandy's four top golfers all finished in the top twenty out of 43 golfers. Along with Meade and Shields, Sierra Warner finished tied for fourteenth and Becky Van Ausdell finished tied for 18th.

'It seems that each week the girls continue to improve both their ball striking and scoring,' Shields said. 'Then this week, I finally saw some improvemnets in our short game, and that can make the biggest difference in loewer scores.'

Shileds knows that this finish can improve his team and said he sees the improvements daily.

'The girls all started with scores a lot higher than now and they continue to get lower each week. This finish will give the girls the confidence to now finish at least fourth in conference,' Shields said. 'We also want to finish third in one of our final meets this season.'

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