Abby Thielbar

Abby Thielbar chips onto the green at Smock Golf Course on Saturday afternoon during the Franklin Central Invite. Thielbar was second overall with a 71.

FRANKLIN – The Zionsville girls golf team is trending in the right direction as the post-season nears.

The Eagles shot a 302 at the Franklin Central Invite on Saturday, placing second by five shots to No. 2 Homestead.

“We got off to a wonderful start to the round today,” Zionsville head coach Steve Simmons said. “For most of the first half of the round, we were right around even as a team. We just let it go a little bit at the end, but you can’t be upset with 302, it was an excellent score and our second best score of the year.”

Abby Thielbar led the Eagles on Saturday, shooting a 1-under 71.

She was just one shot off the medalist honors. Simmons said it could be a round that really boosted his senior as the post-season comes closer.

“Abby shoots 1-under, and quite frankly she probably felt like she left another two or three out there,” Simmons said. “I am so happy for her, to see her play so well at this point in the year. This gives her a good feeling and vibe if we get here for the regional. I couldn’t be happier for her and she played great tonight.”

Annabelle Pancake shot a 73 and Lauren Kaltenmark a 74 for the Eagles.

Zionsville’s fourth score came from Megan Gray, who shot an 84. The fifth golfer was Michelle O’Brien, who fired an 86.

Simmons said he has really liked the way Gray and O’Brien have played over the past couple of events.

“They have been great listeners,” Simmons said. “We have tried to implement some tournament prep, and it is a new concept for a lot of these girls. Not everybody has really grasped on to it, but those two have. I think it has helped them a little bit and for Michelle, she is really controlling the golf ball for the first time. And when you can do that, it gets her fired up to play and she can be more aggressive. I am waiting for Megan to break out. She has been around that 83-85 mark and I really think she is capable of 79-80, and hopefully she can get there in the next couple of weeks.”

The Eagles will have senior night on Tuesday, Sept. 17 against Brebeuf, where they will honor their five seniors – Gray, O’Brien, Pancake, Thielbar and Margo Minnich.

They will also have a final dual against Noblesville before the sectional on Friday. Simmons said he thinks the team is poised for the post-season and along with the experience his girls have, the familiarity on the post-season courses will be big.

“It is always an advantage,” Simmons said. “The more you play a golf course, the more familiar you are with it. You find out where to hit it and where not to hit it. You have a comfort of standing on the tee and it not being an unknown. We have certainly played well both times we have been here this year.”

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Zionsville Times Sentinel and Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.

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