BENTON - Freshman Alyssa Dawson began the season as the only member of Benton High School's "new" girls golf team that had any competitive golf experience, but it took a demotion to get her back on track after a prolonged slump last week.
"I hadn't had a lesson in a while, so once I got my lesson done I was able to figure out what I was doing wrong for the last few weeks," Dawson said. My strength is my driving and my putting. In fact against Carmi and Mt. Carmel, I putted for a par, which was really fun because I haven't been able to get pars lately since I've been off. So that match was really good for me."
Dawson began the season playing out of the No. 1 spot, but after the first match, Olivia Drew moved up from No. 2 to No.1 and Dawson was moved down. However, Dawson took the demotion as a wake-up call to get her act together.
"It didn't really bother me, because Olivia and I lean on each other," Dawson said. "In golf, you get your ups and your downs. My problems lately have been a little bit of everything. That's why I couldn't figure out what was wrong. But once I had my lesson, we got it down. Hopefully, it continues to work."
In the first match of the season, Dawson shot 57 to lead the team. In the second match, Dawson was demoted and shot a 58. She remained at No. 2 for the third match and shot a 56 to tie Drew for tops on the team.
After her lesson, Dawson was still playing at No. 2 for the match against Carmi-White County and Mt. Carmel last week, and the extra work resulting in her best performance of the season and the second-lowest score of her short career.
In fact, she was head and shoulders better than the rest of her team beating the next closest challenger by 18 strokes with a 48.
"My all-time lowest was a 46 during the summer, but the 48 was my high school low," Dawson said. "I parred a few, but I haven't had my first birdie yet. I got close."
This week, the girls hosted Harrisburg and Murphysboro Monday and Du Quoin Thursday.