Parker shot an 80 while Norman carded an 85 at Eagle Knoll golf course on Monday to place in the top 12 at sectionals and qualify for state
DIXON — The Dixon High School golf team is going to have two representatives in the Class 2 state tournament on Monday and Tuesday at Silo Ridge Golf and Country Club in Bolivar after Josh Parker and Jeff Norman placed in the top 12 at sectionals.
Parker shot an 80 at Eagle Knoll golf course on Monday during sectionals, good for a third place finish, and Norman carded an 85 to tie for sixth on the par 72 course. Twelve golfers qualify to state from sectionals.
Parker qualified for state last year, and placed 26th as a sophomore, but he says it never gets old.
“It's pretty gratifying,” Parker said. “I've had a rough season and haven't scored as well as I would have liked lately, but I've played well when I've needed to. I just need to get better and be ready for Monday and Tuesday.”
Last year, Parker was the only Bulldog golfer to qualify, but this year Norman will be there for company.
“It's going to be nice to have a teammate there,” Parker said. “We've had a good team this year, maybe the best we've been since I've been here, so it's gratifying to have two guys this year.”
Norman is glad to have Parker there too. Having someone who has been there before to mentor him is going to be invaluable to the freshman.
“Me and Josh are pretty good friends,” Norman said. “He helps me out if I'm swinging bad and he gives me a lot of tips.”
Which is not surprising to Dixon coach Mike Phillips.
Phillips jokes that Parker is at such an advanced level, Parker knows more than he does about golf.
“That might be right,” Parker said, laughing. “But it's nice to have him out there to keep my head in the right place.”
Which, Phillips says, is usually all that is required of him.
“The best thing about it is that he knows when he's doing the little things wrong,” Phillips said of Parker. “Both of these guys, I just have to give them pats on the back after a bad hole. And if I can help them out by doing that and keep their score under 80, I'm doing my job.”
Of course, that's not all he does, Phillips is being very modest, but Parker and Norman do make his job easier.
Having a freshman like Norman, who is playing at such a high level at a young age, is such a gift to a coach.
“Jeff has the perfect swing,” Phillips said. “He may not have as much power, but he's good mechanically.”
To keep both of their swings sharp and keep them familiar with all their clubs, Phillips is taking his two golfers to Silo Ridge on Saturday for a practice round.
Then, on Sunday, they'll all go to another course somewhere in Springfield to swing the clubs a little bit.
After Sunday, everything is left up to Parker and Norman.
“There's not a whole lot for us to do as coaches [at state],” Phillips said. “We just follow the guys around and see how they're doing.”
Which can be frustrating if a kid starts to struggle, but even that won't worry Phillips on Monday.
“These two are good enough that if they shoot in the low 80s on the first day, they can come back and still have a chance at a medal Tuesday.”