Ruggeri powers WH to tourney win

Following her win at the Pine Bluff Junior City Championship on Aug. 5, White Hall senior Camryn Ruggeri said she was more concered with how well her team played because she knew they would soon compete in the Relyance Bank Classic.

Her concern paid off as Ruggeri and the rest of the Lady Bulldogs dominated the Classic on Friday at the Pine Bluff Country Club, shooting a team score of 293 — 41 strokes lower than second place DeWitt.

“Some of the girls didn’t play their best,” Ruggeri said. “But they placed decent enough to win the title, which I was pretty proud of.

“Once I saw the other girls had done better than the other competitors at the tournament, it was really nice.”

Ruggeri shot an 87 to lead the Lady Bulldogs.

“She’s been playing golf for a while,” White Hall coach Rieke Stewart said. “… The other girls played well. It wasn’t their best, but it is just the first time out.”

Mackenzie Stewart shot a 113, Olivia Robinson a 102 and Emelia Dennis a 104 to round out the White Hall scores.

“We did win and that’s nice,” Stewart said. “We’ve got a bunch of seniors and one junior who are all pretty good golfers.

“They are just hard working kids. They just like to go out and play.”

Ruggeri started out decently enough but triple bogeyed back-to-back holes to finish 10 over through the first nine holes.

“Once I realized I was 10 over, I said, ‘OK, it’s time to actually play ball, because those triples hurt me so much,’” Ruggeri said. “I got some food in me and shot six over on my last nine.”

It is the second straight year Ruggeri has earned medalist honors at the classic.

“It was a lot better this year,” Ruggeri said. “Last year, we didn’t have many girls compete, but this year we had a bunch of girls out there.

“We had a lot more competitors.”

Stewart, who is in his second season with White Hall, said this year he had a lot more time to plan for the classic.

“Last year, they had it in the works (when I arrived), but we didn’t get that many teams,” Stewart said. “This year we had 59 golfers out there.”

Stewart said he received a lot of praise from other coaches on how well the tournament was put together.

“I credit that to Relyance Bank and the employees at the country club,” Stewart said. “All those guys really help put this thing on.

“They’ve really made it a good tournament.”

For the boys, Harrison finished in first place with a team score of 297. Jackson Marseilles medaled with a score of 72, Landon Jackson shot a 74, Logan Greer a 75, Jake Badovinac a 76 and August Reynolds an 82.

White Hall finished in fourth place with a score of 329. Jake McNulty led the team with a 76 and Grayson Martin — a ninth grader and Ruggeri’s half brother — shot a 79.

“Our boys played well,” Stewart said. “We just got to get our three, four and five kids to come through for our boys to do better.

“It is still early. We don’t want to be as good as we can be now, we want to be as good as we can be in October.”

Watson Chapel finished in sixth place (380) and was led by Dalton Barker with an 85 and Regin Reginio contributed with an 88.

White Hall travels to Hot Springs Country Club on Tuesday and will play again at PBCC on Thursday for a friendly nine-hole scrimmage against Watson Chapel and possibly two other teams, according to Stewart.