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Improved Lady Cats to defend crown

by Tony Burns | September 20, 2022 at 5:31 p.m.

Despite graduating the bulk of last year’s team, El Dorado’s girls have competed well this season as the two-time reigning 5A state golf champions. Still, the Lady Wildcats will have their hands full Wednesday when they compete in the 5A South Conference Tournament, which will be held on Parks Course at the Hot Springs Country Club.

Senior Hope Walthall, the lone returning starter from last year’s squad, has enjoyed her most consistent season. Other Lady Wildcats will have to come along for the ride as well, however. Daphny Chen has scored in the 90s on more than one occasion this season.

“The girls have really made tremendous strides this year,” said El Dorado coach Chris Ezell. “Hope Walthall has stepped up her game even further this year and Daphny Chen has made huge gains in her golf game in one year. She has improved over 20 strokes on average from last season. 

“I had to recruit my daughter, Aubree back to golf after she had stopped playing years ago. She has improved so much in a few months. She had a couple of rounds just above 110. Isabel Clark is also new to golf this season, only starting to play this year. She was thrown into the fire, playing 18-hole rounds immediately. That is tough on anyone trying to learn the game and she has shown such determination trying to get better. I am extremely proud of them for jumping on the team and giving us a chance to compete as a team.”

Ezell said Hot Springs Lakeside, led by Maggie Huett, will be the team to beat on the girls’ side. Along with Huett, the Lady Rams have three other girls capable of breaking 90.

“That will be tough to overcome for our girls team, but I believe we have a chance at earning the second or third spot in conference and qualify as a team for state,” said Ezell.

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