Heat, delays challenge teen golfers

The Big I Youth Championship concludes today.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:55 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 10, 2008

After not picking up a club for about nine months, Leslie Fischer started playing again at the start of the summer. In a tournament last year, Fischer, 16, dug her club into the ground and jammed her rotator cuff.

Injuries haunted Fischer, a Rock Bridge golfer, again Monday in the first round of the Missouri Big I Youth Championship at A. L. Gustin Golf Course. On the back nine, Fischer fell while walking on the fairway and hurt her knee.

“I started walking up the hill, and I kind of hyperextended it, and I heard it pop,” Fischer said. “But you can’t really stop, it’s just not in me to stop.”

After a long 18 holes, Fischer is sixth out of eight girls and shot an 86 to lead Bruins teammates Leah Bowring, seventh with a 91, and Anna Coil, eighth with a 96.

The Big I ends today with an 18-hole second round.

Rain pushed back Monday’s 8 a.m. tee off to 1 p.m., and the 28 boys and girls entered had to face temperatures that prompted a heat advisory from local forecasters.

Bowring said she felt the effects of the delay.

“With the postponement, I was anxious to play,” Bowring said. “ I was really ready this morning, then an hour turned into two hours, turned into four, and I don’t like waiting.

She also said she wouldn’t have minded playing in the rain.

“I would rather play in the rain than in the heat,” Bowring said. “I can control my game better when I’m not uncomfortable. Rain is inconvenient, but heat and humidity is uncomfortable, and that gets to your mental game.”

Fischer also said she felt the heat but kept a good strategy.

“After a while you get used to it,” Fischer said. “Just keep drinking fluids and keep hydrated. I just got really tired after a couple of holes.”

During her round, Fischer said chipping was giving her problems, but her putting was on, and she was driving well. Bowring and Coil both said their putting was strong.

For Bowring, today has potential.

“We are going to start off earlier, and that’ll be a relief because it’s not going to be hot,” Bowring said. “It’s not going to be sunny, and hopefully I won’t be sweating profusely.”

Coil agreed.

“You just have to forget about your game,” Coil said. “It is kind of like each hole you shoot your score, and you start new and just forget about it, but I’ll be ready.”

Jessica Connelly, from St. Louis, leads after shooting a 72. Ashley Nicks and Mallory Baumhoer from Springfield are tied for second at 78.

In the boys field, Rock Bridge’s Jay Radar leads after shooting 64. Hickman’s D.J. Chung is tied for second with Jeff Zimmerman at 65.

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