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Rock Falls freshman, Oregon sophomore already leaving their marks on girls golf

Two young players are getting the 2020 high school girls golf season off to an impressive start.

On the heels of a 16-stroke win at the Women’s Rock River Classic, Rock Falls freshman Megan Fiorini opened her high school career with a 40, taking medalist honors in a dual against Le-Win/Pearl City.

The following day, she went even lower, carding a 34 in a dual with Oregon. Then she shot a 77 to tie for second in the Rocket Invitational on Saturday.

On the day the highly touted freshman of 2020 carded her 34, the highly touted freshman of 2019 was in her playing group. Now a sophomore at Oregon, Ava Hackman had the low score for the Hawks that day and in Saturday’s Rocket Invitational.

In last year’s regional, Hackman shot a 93 in tough conditions at Lake Carroll, then beat Dixon’s Bella Heintzelman in a one-hole playoff.

Despite entering this season as a reigning regional champion, the Hawks sophomore is not feeling the pressure.

“I’ve just got to keep in my head that I need to play my best no matter what people think or what other people are doing,” Hackman said.

So less than a week into the sophomore season for one player and the varsity career of the other, they got a chance to see up close what the other was able to do on the course.

On No. 6 on Thursday, a 375-yard par-5 running along Howland Creek, both landed tee shots in the rough before recovering with their second shots, Fiorini hitting hers past the green, Hackman hitting her just short of the green.

On No. 8, a 287-yard par-4, Fiorini landed her tee shot squarely in the center of the fairway and was later able to chip to within a foot and tap in. Hackman landed in the rough to the right of the fairway and had to punch out.

“She hits the ball really well,” Fiorini said of Hackman. “I think I might know the course because I’ve been playing all summer here.”

They were not in the same playing group on Saturday, as Fiorini tied for second behind Dixon’s Bella Heintzelman with a 77 and Hackman shot a 94.

“She hits a lot of straight shots and her drives and really nice and she can get long putts in,” Hackman said of Fiorini.

Hackman said her goal for sophomore year is another regional title and to get into the mid or low 30s for nine holes.

“My putting could be a bit better, and my drives, they’re going to the right so I need to fix those, but when I hit them straight they go pretty good,” she said.

Hackman’s interest in golf came from her parents when she was maybe four or five.

“I grew up on the golf course, so every weekend or every other day I’d go out on the course and just mess around with my mom and day,” she said. “As high school came around, I started getting very serious about it.”

Hackman said she likes how it’s an individual sport and that she gets to see multiple courses.

For Fiorini, the introduction to golf came from her day.

“When I was really little, he would take me out in the back, we have a field, and I would just start hitting golf balls,” Fiorini said. “He would shorten clubs for me and I would hit them. I started doing tournaments in sixth grade, and I’ve done more and more every year, just working every single day, almost twice a day, and just improving as much as I can.”

Fiorini set a busy schedule for her self during the summer months when she was in middle school, getting out on the course as much as possible and playing in summer tournaments.

“If you miss a day, it will totally set you back,” Fiorini said. “So I try to do as much as I can.”