La PORTE -- If Friday's Pat Ford Invitational was a scramble format, Lia Thomas and Taylor Skibinski would've probably taken home the trophy.

Thomas started well and Skibinski struggled at the outset, while Thomas finished poorly and Skibinski closed strong at Beechwood, both ending up with the same score of 82 that tied them for fifth place individually.

"I had 11 really solid holes. I hit it solid. I had good putting," Thomas said. "I just need to remember that feeling for the next couple weeks."

Playing on the course that will host the sectional next Friday, Thomas raced out to an even-par round through 11 holes before a quadruble bogey and a double bogey derailed her round.

"I definitely could have played smarter, made better decisions and eliminated strokes to keep my score lower," she said. "I still had a chance to make up for it on the front again. It just wasn't smart golf. I think I'll come back out and practice on my struggle holes."

For Skibinski, a double-double-bogey opening was followed by a birdie that touched off 15 holes of three-over-par golf.

"I had to get the hang of the greens," Skibinski said.

Michigan City shot 374 as a team, fourth among 15 teams behind Crown Point (340), Lake Central (347) and Valparaiso (363), which had medalist Wynne Aldrich (76).

"It's not the greatest score, but am I worried or unhappy with our play? Not at all," Wolves coach Drew White said. "I refer to this as the dress rehearsal for the main production next Friday. This is the pre-test and that's the final exam. Our scores here are traditionally higher and don't reflect what we ultimately shoot in the sectional. We shot 400 last year and it ended up pretty well. It's great to play 18 holes on the course that will determine our post-season fate a week from now."

City, which put together its best top-to-bottom round of the season in a dual with New Prairie, had just one other player break 100 with Sara Poulin's 98.

"In a lot of ways, we're like Jekyll and Hyde right now," White said. "We're really, really good or we're really, really bad. This was somewhere in the middle. Lia's upset because she stumbled and others are upset because they didn't shoot as well as they had hoped for, but they'll pick it up and impoved on their scores for the sectional."

Marquette's Daniela Bellido, playing at Beechwood for the first time, posted an 85. 

"My drives were brilliant, amazing," she said. "At the beginning, I wanted to shoot a good score, but then I wasn't doing great, so I just looked at it as practice for (sectionals), and then I played better. Sometimes I wasn't getting on the green or I was going over, so  now I know all the holes and I wrote down some stuff, like what club to use on certain holes." 

The Blazers shot 411, while New Prairie posted 429, La Porte 431, La Lumiere 456 and LaCrosse 468.

La Lumiere's Zell Wilson shot an 81 to finish fourth. New Prairie was led by freshman Jaiden Winters' 88, while Gabby Hull had a 103 to pace the Slicers and Noel Boubourikas (109) was low for the Tigers.


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