The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Golf: Hot Start

  • Goodley wins Illinois Optimist Junior Golf Championships; qualifies for International Championships at PGA National
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  • Ashton Goodley's summer is off to a great start.
    The incoming senior at Eldorado High School returned from a two-day trip in Decatur where she won the Illinois Optimist Junior Golf Championships at Red Tail Run Golf Course.
    Ashton beat out 38 other competitors, including twin sister Taylor, who finished sixth in the event.
    Ashton fired an 83 on Day 1 and followed it up with a 78, putting her in the Optimist International Championships, which will be played July 31 through August 4 at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida at the PGA National Golf Course.
    Only the top 5 finishers qualify for the championships. Taylor Goodley’s sixth place finish makes her the first alternate should one of the top five not be able to attend.
    As much as Goodley is looking forward to that experience, she's also hoping for some beach time.
    "I'm really excited about the opportunity to play at PGA National," Goodley said. "It was a tough battle and had to over a first day where I didn't hit the ball very well."
    Red Tail Run was stretched to 6,250 yards and to add injury to insult, Mother Nature provided 30 mph winds for the competitors.
    "I think what worked best for me these past two days was I was hitting the ball solid and straight. Now, with the wind, a lot of times I had to go up two or three clubs, but my struggles came from the greens where I just couldn't get the speed.
    "I putted well, but it wasn't unlit the second nine of Day 2 that things really started picking up for me."
    Overcoming the field after Day 1 was a feather in Ashton's hat. Overcoming the course and the conditions was the real victory however.
    "The course played long, but with the wind, it played even longer." Goodley said. "It was a great feeling to come back and win it."
    The Optimist International Junior Golf Championships is one of the largest and best-known junior golf tournaments in the world. Each year, more than 600 golfers participate in THE OPTIMIST.
    Optimists have been involved in the sport of junior golf for more than 30 years by holding local, regional and international tournaments. More than 5,000 golfers compete in official Optimist District qualifying tournaments. The best of these golfers, along with international golfers from around the globe, advance to the annual Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Former champions and top finishers of the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships include Beth Bauer, Jonathan Byrd, Jason Day, Bill Haas, Brittany Lincicome, Jeff Overton, Stacy Prammanasudh and Jennifer Rosales.
    Michael Dann can be reached at
    Twitter: @spydieshooter
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