Freeport's Clawson aims for putt cutback at WPIALs

| Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Freeport freshman Audrey Clawson knows if she is going to keep playing in the WPIAL and PIAA postseason, she'll need to keep her putts to a minimum.

That's why she has spent extra time on her short game, chipping and putting daily as she gets set to make her debut in the WPIAL Class AA girls golf championship Monday at Three Lakes Golf Course in Penn Hills.

“I am doing all I can to get closer to the pin; that's something I need to improve on,” said Clawson, who has had a head-turning season on the Freeport boys team. “I need to be able to one-putt when I am in that 4- to 5-foot range.”

She has been among the team's top five scorers in almost every match and helped the Yellowjackets to a team section title.

Clawson shot 88 to take second behind Neshannock freshman Marissa Kirkwood in the Section 1-AA qualifier at Kittanning Country Club two weeks ago. The score, nine strokes greater than Kirkwood's, did not satisfy Clawson, who kept her nine-hole average under 40 at the start of the year.

“I didn't play as smart of golf as I wanted to,” Clawson said. “It was just careless mistakes, not taking the safe shot when I should have.”

Clawson visited 3 Lakes Golf Course for a practice round Aug. 21. At each hole, she used a driver, a 5-wood, and a 27-degree hybrid.

In most cases, the freshman said, the hybrid had the best outcome — her hybrid tee shots sail about 175 yards when hit straight.

For Clawson, conservative play in the tee box and clean putting might suffice. The top eight finishers in the WPIAL Class AA final advance to the PIAA Western Regional — the state championship qualifier — Oct. 15 at Tom's Run Golf Course in Blairsville.

Bill Beckner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bbeckner@tribweb.com or 724-224-2696.

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