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story.lead_photo.caption Grafton Craighead of the Lady Jays watches her shot during the Capital City Invitational last year at Meadow Lake Acres Country Club. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

The potential is there. It's a matter of cleaning up some of the minor things.

"There are a lot of little errors that we can correct that will bring their scores down," Jefferson City coach Caitlin Phoenix said as the Lady Jays get set to start the golf season today at the Warrensburg Invitational.

"It's consistency with some of the girls. That's the big thing we're looking to improve on."

The Lady Jays have three strong players at the start of their varsity lineup in sophomore Camryn Swinfard and juniors Grace Craighead and Grafton Craighead.

"(Swinfard) knows the game, you can tell she's played a lot and is solid," Phoenix said. "With the Craigheads, you can tell they've played a lot of competitive golf, they never get down and have a positive attitude."

Those three return from a team that took third in the district tournament last fall. Grace Craighead advanced to the Class 2 state tournament as an individual.

"Ideally, we would go to state as a team this season, but I can see us having one or more individual advancing," Phoenix said. "If we can get four scores in the mid-80s, it's not unrealistic for us to advance as a team out of districts. It's very doable with the talent we have."

Bidding to round out the final two spots on the varsity spots are seniors Ryann Schenewerk and Camryn Heimericks, along with junior Karina Betts.

"We have six or seven girls that can play varsity on any particular day," Phoenix said.

The Lady Jays have a total of 12 players on the roster. But none are freshmen.

"We're going to have to work on that in the future, getting kids interested in playing when they get to high school," Phoenix said.

Jefferson City's practices have not been quite as long as in the past, with a little more emphasis on individualized work in the first hour.

"We've been focusing on quality over quantity," Phoenix said. "The practices have been a little shorter with more intensive work on what everybody needs done.

"It's been a lot of work on individual skills."

Phoenix said one thing nearly everyone on the team needs to improve on is their ball striking.

"We're not hitting it as consistently as I would like," she said. "Consistency in all parts of their games, that's the big thing we're looking to improve on.

"There are a lot of little errors that we can correct that will bring their scores down."

Starting the season in a tournament like the Warrensburg Invitational should be a tough test right out of the gate.

"Ideally, we would have a nine-hole match to ease our way into it," Phoenix said. "But it's the first day we can compete and we've got a tournament and it's game time."

It is one of six regular-season tournaments for the Lady Jays this year, including the season-ending Capital City Invitational.

"That's a lot, but it's a good thing because the more we can play, the better we will be at the end of the season," Phoenix said.

Jefferson City is also scheduled to play in the Camdenton Invitational, the Helias Invitational, the MO-KAN Tournament in Kansas City and the Sedalia Tournament.

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