Brad Hagedorn had a question recently for his standout golfer.
“I asked her last week, ‘What do you really have left to prove?’ ” the Seckman girls golf coach said. “And she said, ‘I haven’t done like I’ve wanted to the last two years.’ And she’s had third at state twice, which most people would be jumping for joy celebrating. But she wasn’t satisfied.”
Hagedorn’s standout, senior Claire Solovic, has had a spectacular high school career, which will come to a close this week, as she and 31 other area golfers compete in the Class 2 girls golf state tournament Monday and Tuesday at Silo Ridge Golf and Country Club in Bolivar.
Solovic has done what no other area golfer has done the last three years and that’s stake a claim to a trio of top-three finishes at state.
She tied Rock Bridge’s Julia Bower for the medalist title as a freshman with a 149. Solovic has actually shot a better score the last two years (144 and 147, respectively) but has finished third on both occasions.
The lack of another gold medal has gnawed at the University of Central Missouri recruit.
“My goal this year is to win because I’d like to get another win in,” Solovic said. “It’s kind of been disappointing that I haven’t been able to yet again.”
One person has stood in her way the last two years — Megan Propeck. The Notre Dame de Sion junior has captured two consecutive state titles and is considered one of the top high school golfers in the nation.
“I don’t really know much about her,” Solovic said. “I’ve played with her once. She’s a solid player. I can’t control what anyone else does. If I can just control what I do and make sure I’m doing it well, then I know I’ll give myself a chance and that’s all you can really ask for.”
If nothing else, maybe Solovic can get the fear factor working in her favor.
“A lot of people think she’s intimidating,” said Lindbergh junior Sofia Gamayo, who has been a friend and golf foe of Solovic for 11 years, and will be in the group right behind her in the first round at state. “I love playing with her. I don’t think she’s that scary. She’s good, she’s really good. She’s consistent. She shoots 60s all the time.”
Solovic is trending in the right direction heading into state after firing a 3-under-par 68 to run away with the Class 2 Sectional 1 title Oct. 14. It’s a far cry from the 76 she posted on the same course last year in the precursor to state.
“Now I know even more what I need to work on,” she said. “I’m a lot more comfortable with how I’m hitting the ball. I know I can keep it up.”
One way to put herself back in the mix would be for Solovic to put together two complete rounds of golf.
When she tied for the title as a freshman, she had a good first day (71) but a rougher second day (78). The last two years, she’s had slower starts (74 and 76, respectively) and better finishes (70 and 71, respectively).
“The last two years, I had good second days, but the first day I just couldn’t really get anything going,” Solovic said. “So this year, I’m just hoping to have two solid days under par and see where that gets me.”
Her coach thinks she will play well because, well, it’s that time of year.
“She seems to get better down the stretch. When the competition gets better, she steps up,” Hagedorn said. “Probably the biggest thing I’ll give her is her mental game and her drive to be the best golfer out here. She puts in the work and she’s earned every single thing she’s got.”
If Solovic can earn that top spot just once more, it would make for one heck of a bookend.
“It would be really nice,” she said, “because it’s like I went in winning and it would just be really nice to go out winning, too.”