Bedford’s Otis Park tested Seymour junior Hannah Thompson in the highest and lowest moments of her golf season.
To start 2015, those hilly links got the best of Thompson.
Thompson, who deferred a 2014 regional bid to senior teammate Brittany Trimnell, held high expectations heading into the Bedford North Lawrence Invitational, but she shot a 109 at Otis to open the season.
Despite the rough carding, the final score didn’t keep Thompson down.
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Thompson bounced back to serve as the Owls’ No. 1 golfer the remainder of the season in a competitive Hoosier Hills Conference schedule.
As the season winded down, Thompson averaged in the mid-to-low 40’s on nine holes to lead the Owls.
On Sept. 1, Thompson carded a 41 (+5) to garner medalist at Otis in a tri-meet with Mitchell and Bedford North Lawrence.
At the Bedford Sectional, Thompson faced her toughest test after carding a 53 on the front nine, managing a low total enough on the back to earn a regional spot.
“I kept thinking of where I needed to be,” Thompson said. “It kind of motivated me. I knew what I needed to work on and kept pushing myself. I knew I had it inside me; I just had to get it done on the course.
“I just kept thinking positive thoughts. If I got mad at myself, I would have played worse. I had to keep a positive attitude.”
Thompson regrouped, found her composure and shot a 45 to total 98 strokes — and earned a regional opportunity at Country Oaks Golf Course.
At the regional, as the lone golfer from Jackson County, it was much of the same for Thompson in postseason play as she shot a 43 on back after amassing 50 on the front nine holes to finish with 93 strokes.
With her accomplishments this season, The Tribune has named Thompson as player of the year.
First-year Owls coach RaeAnn Wintin relied on Thompson to lead her team with no seniors on the roster.
Wintin said that Thompson’s mental strength pushed her to succeed.
“I think it takes consistency to play as the No. 1 golfer, and you have to be able to block out some of the other distractions,” Wintin said. “You have to focus on what you have to do. It takes a very mentally tough person to do come back like she did. At sectional, she had a rough round, and she could have been done after that front nine, but she overcame that and shot a better score on the back: it takes mental toughness.
“I think she was playing her best golf; she came on the right time. She knew what she needed to do to advance.”
Last season, Thompson moved around in the Owls’ lineup between No. 3 and No. 5.
Moving into the No. 1 position this year, Thompson felt a little intimidated taking on a new role.
“It was a different experience,” Thompson said of playing No. 1. “Last year it seemed like it was a huge thing, being No. 1. I kind of freaked myself out with it. It wasn’t horrible at all.
“I played with a bunch of new girls. I switched from playing in the 3, 4 or 5 to No. 1. I think that was a huge difference. Some of the other girls are more strict, and I liked that — it makes me more on top of my game.”
One of Thompson’s biggest improvements through the season was her chipping and putting.
Thompson said that she spent time with outside golf coaches, including former Owls varsity head Lakin Davis, to improve her game.
“I would text with Lakin (Davis), and she would meet up with me after some practice,” Thompson said. “Sometimes, we would stay two hours after practice. On the weekends, if I didn’t have a tournament, we would meet.”
Wintin said that Thompson always put in the extra time and led by result.
“She’s not the kind of leader who would say ‘follow me,'” Wintin said. “She will go out and work extra hard and lead by example.”
While she hasn’t spent much time in past summers on the golf course, Thompson plans on committing a lot of time in 2016.
Thompson said that she needs to work on her drives and hopes to shoot in the low 80s.
“I really need to work on getting confident on my swing,” Thompson said. “I have my positioning down. I just need confidence to know it’s going to go straight.”
Whether she’s on top or at the bottom of the placings, golf is one of Thompson’s favorite outlets.
“Golf is calming,” Thompson said. “If you’re having a good day, it’s fun, and you get to have new people. I love meeting new people, and it’s fun getting to know people who are out there for the same reason.”
Joining Seymour’s Hannah Thompson on the All-County team:
Kaela Tormoehlen, Brownstown Central, senior
9/18-hole averages: 49.8/97 strokes
Honors: All-Mid-Southern Conference, honorable mention academic all-state, team MVP, medalist three times and runner-up four times
Emma Zabor, Brownstown Central, Sophomore
9/18-hole averages: 50.9/103.5 strokes
Honors: All-Mid-Southern Conference, medalist
Breonna Bottorff, Brownstown Central, Junior
9/18 hole averages: 54.1/107 strokes
Honor: All-Mid-Southern Conference Honorable mention
Bailey Goben, Seymour, Sophomore
9/18-holes averages: 50/105 strokes
Andrea Axsom, Seymour, Sophomore
9/18-holes average: 53/110 strokes
Macy Taylor, Trinity Lutheran, Junior
9-holes average: 52.7 strokes
Hannah Thompson, Seymour, Junior
9-holes: 45 average, 40 personal-best
18-holes: 98 average, 90 personal-best
Medalist in tri-meet with Bedford North Lawrence and Mitchell
Regional qualifier (Bedford Sectional)