Klingaman, Campbell lead NHS into season

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

When Brian Leonard came on board as the Nevada High School head golf coach two years ago, he inherited four senior girls who would go on to win the district crown and advance to the state meet.

"Last year, I had one senior and I had three girls go to state, and I have two of them back," Leonard said.

Leonard, whose team opens its season Monday in its own Nevada Lady Tigers Invitational at Frank E. Peters Municipal Golf Course, says he hopes that trend continues this season with state qualifiers Heather Klingaman and Lakyn Mansfield back in the fold.

"She was right in the middle of the field," Leonard said of Klingaman's 102 at the state meet at Jefferson City last fall. "She came to golf last year, fresh from softball, and she went on to qualify for state.

"She's hitting out of the tee box well and putting well. Reducing those 4-putts and 5-putts is the key. She's up to the 2-putt stage, and I'm really proud of her for that. She'll throw a couple birdies in there, too. The thing we're working with her now is course management."

While Klingaman seems to be hitting her stride in this her senior year, Mansfield, a two-time state qualifier, had a temporary setback after suffering a fractured finger on her left hand, her grip hand, recently.

"All I know is she injured her finger and she had surgery and she's has screws in it," Leonard said of Mansfield's injury. "I would say she would be able to get her screws out of her finger at the first of September.

"She's not to swing a golf club or practice, doctors orders. I don't know what kind of rehab the doctors have planned for her. When they give her permission to start chipping and putting, we'll go from there."

Another who figures to make a big impact for the Lady Tigers is senior Nicole Campbell.

"She started her sophomore year and she was a beginner and I've been really impressed with the way she's hitting the ball this year," Leonard said. "She's been getting some drives, and her irons have been pretty crisp."

When it comes to an all-around game -- putting, using irons and driving, Klingaman has stepped to the fore.

"I would say off the tee box with a driver would probably be a toss-up between Heather and Nicole," Leonard said. "They are both really consistent. The irons and the fairways, I would probably have to give that one to Heather and putting, Heather also.

"Just from last year, I would say (Mansfield) would be right behind Heather and above Nicole out of the tee box. This year, Nicole has improved so much that she is right up there with (Mansfield) on driving. We have a little 210-yard, par-4 downhill to the lake, and our back nine on the city course has pretty short holes, and Nicole hit the green the other night."

When Mansfield returns from her injury, it will make the team that much better.

"She has been a consistent golfer," Leonard said. "We had a junior break her hand two years ago right before district and Lakyn went to district and shot an 88 or 89 and went on to state with the rest of the girls.

"Last year, when she went to state, she realized that she wants to be a state qualifier all four years and that's rare."

Junior Chelsea Turner and Melea Galimberto, a sophomore, figure to be in the mix in the top 5.

Freshmen Emily DeBrien, Chalene Fecht, Jessica Mosbrucker and Brooke Swait round out the team.

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