A pair of No. 1 golfers from Jackson County mirrored one another in the 2016 season.

Besting their own 18-hole tournament averages, earning conference honors, achieving postseason advancement and playing head-to-head, Seymour’s Hannah Thompson and Brownstown Central’s Emma Zabor finished neck-and-neck in regard to postseason honors.

Both averaged 94.75 strokes, led their team to regional berths and were recognized in their respective conferences.

In the four matches they played against one another, they split those 2-2.

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With all their accomplishments this fall, The Tribune has named Thompson and Zabor All-County co-Golfers of the Year.

Thompson finishes career on high note

Whether it was the best, or worst, round of her life — Thompson always had a smile on her face during competition.

The senior’s positive attitude kept spectators who weren’t keeping track of her strokes guessing.

Thompson, who also was named The Tribune’s 2015 golfer of the year, focused on the team first over individual honors.

As the lone senior on the team, Thompson thrived in the role as the team’s leader.

“(Thompson) has always been that player I can count on,” Seymour coach RaeAnn Wintin said. “Sometimes she would get beaten by a teammate, but at the end of the day she was the most consistent player.”

Thompson’s season-low card of 89 strokes earned All-Hoosier Hills Conference honorable mention.

In the postseason, Thompson led the Owls with her team-low scores.

At the sectional in Bedford, she shot 99 before carding a 98 at regional in Montgomery.

“You put in all that work in the previous years, and it feels great to see it all pay off in the end,” Thompson said. “Every practice, we had the same mentality and focus. We just wanted that good ending. We were all on the same page with good vibes.”

While Thompson advanced to regional individually in 2015, this year’s berth meant much more.

Thompson admitted that her long game took a turn, but the short game picked up as the season winded-down.

“I feel like my chipping improved, especially towards the end. I think my swing was more smooth.”

A tireless worker, Thompson often played 18-holes on her own before the season.

Her work ethic resonated with the team of youngsters.

“We had a couple of great freshmen come in and more girls came out,” Thompson said. “They were all very positive. They came in with new energy. “I’m going to miss my teammates the most.””

Wintin also noted the impact Thompson had on the team and said that the senior’s work will translate to future successes.

“(Thompson) very much led by example,” she said. “She always put in the extra time before and after practice — working on to improve herself. She’s also that comic relief as well. If someone is having a bad day, she tries to put them at ease and smile. Having her share that with the younger girls is good for their future.

“We’re going to miss having her around. She’s such a light-hearted, laid-back person.”

Zabor shines in second year

What Zabor accomplished in just her second year of playing competitive golf is almost unfathomable.

After becoming the Braves’ No. 1 midway through her junior year, Zabor built on her successes in 2016.

Coming into the season, Zabor didn’t get to play as much golf as she had hoped over the summer.

Zabor tore her ACL in January, had surgery, and was still rehabbing by the time the golf courses opened for practice.

Highly competitive, Zabor had trouble staying off the course.

“I will admit, I was playing a little bit before I was cleared,” Zabor said. “I always stopped when it hurt, and when I got cleared I started working back towards my goals.”

In the first tournament of the season, at the Seymour Invitational, Zabor shot a personal-best of 82.

“I was really surprised at the beginning of the year,” Brownstown coach Brandon Allman said. “She was coming off that knee surgery, and didn’t get fully cleared until a week and a half before season. For her to come out with little practice and shoot a career best — it was really surprising.”

While Zabor didn’t shoot below 82 the rest of the season, she consistently led the team on Saturdays.

In a bizarre Mid-Southern Conference tournament — which only counted 10 common holes due to rain and darkness — Zabor made the All-MSC team by shooting 52 for her second-straight nod.

At sectional she carded 101 in miserable conditions to help the team advance and in the regional the final score tallied 90.

“I think that we all really picked up our game and came together as a team,” Zabor said. “We all support each other. If one person was having a bad hole, we knew we needed to pick them up.”

Zabor has a strong golfing support system around her, the desire to succeed solely comes from her.

“It just comes natural to her,” Allman said. “She’s a really great athlete. Golf is going to be her only sport now, but she was a very good three-sport athlete. She loves the game, and her Dad (Greg Zabor) was a very good junior amateur golfer — he got an opportunity to play with Tiger Woods in California. But it’s all her, and he’s a great Dad that just wants her to be the best she can be.”

Planning on traveling to junior tournaments — and making golf her lone sport — throughout the state before next fall, Zabor and the Braves have high expectations.

“I’m looking for her to be consistently in the low 80s next year,” Allman said.  “I know that’s a big drop. With her being new to the game, she’s still learning her game and swing. If she puts in the time she can make really big strides next year.”

Jackson County All-County girls golf team

Hannah Thompson, Seymour, senior (Co-Golfer of the Year)

9-holes average: 48 strokes

18-holes average: 94.75 strokes

Honors: All-Hoosier Hills Conference Honorable mention, regional qualifier

Emma Zabor, Brownstown Central, junior (Co-Golfer of the Year)

9-holes average: 48.5

18-holes average: 94.75

Honors: All-Mid-Southern Conference, regional qualifier

Joining Thompson and Zabor on the All-County team:

Shelby Stuckwisch, Brownstown Central, junior

9-holes average: 51.5

18-holes average: 99.75

Honors: All-Mid-Southern Conference, regional qualifier

Bridget Marshall, Seymour, freshman

9-holes average: 46.75

18-holes average: 99

Honors: regional qualifier

Bailey Goben, Seymour, junior

9-holes average: 52.25

18-holes average: 103.25

Honors: regional qualifier

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Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.