PANORA — Brittany Coppess and coach Dan Sullivan weren’t specific with goals for the Clinton sophomore entering her first Class 5A golf state tournament.
“Deep down inside, we’re both eager to see what she’s going to do,” Sullivan said. “We’re thinking why not go for it while we’re here; why not go after this and see how high you can come in.”
After a shaky start at the Lake Panorama National Golf Course, both coach and player were pleased with Coppess’ Day 1 result. On the front nine, she bogeyed Nos. 2, 3 and 4 after three-putting each, followed by a triple-bogey on No. 5 to turn in a 47.
Coppess regrouped on the back nine with back-to-back-to-back pars on Nos. 10, 11 and 12. Her score of 41 gave her a total of 87, placing her 17th midway through the tournament.
“She really tore it up on the back,” Sullivan said. “I’m proud of the way she was able to respond. Even though she didn’t make those putts, she worked her way through the rest of the (front) nine.”
The goal now is to find areas where Coppess can shave off strokes. She said both she and Sullivan calculated she could knock off up to 10 strokes if she could turn three-putts into two- or one-putt holes.
“I feel that I’m doing pretty good for my first time ever to state,” Coppess said. “My personal goal is just to try to get the highest position I can. I’m going to come into tomorrow and just keep playing the game that I’ve been playing.”
Sullivan said there’s an added element of pressure with a state title being on the line. It is also his first trip to state as a coach.
“Getting a look at all the stuff that goes on at one of these, it’s a different animal,” Sullivan said. “We’re trying to take everything in and understand everything that’s going on. There’s not a bad player here. It’s intimidating to watch other kids hit big hits and then you’re up.”