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Jackson golfer Julia Schlitt having standout summer ahead of junior year

Jackson girls golfer Julia Schlitt has won four tournaments over the summer, including one at the Ole Miss Golf Course last month. Submitted photo

After a sophomore season where she helped the Jackson girls golf team capture its third state trophy since 2019, Julia Schlitt has been dominating on golf courses throughout Missouri as well as in Oxford, Mississippi.

Schlitt has won three Gateway PGA tournaments that were in Cape Girardeau, Kennett and Sikeston, while she also took first at the Ole Miss Golf Course tournament last month. Her best score came at Sikeston with a 74, while she produced a 76 in Kennett, 78 at Dalhousie and lastly an 80 in Mississippi.

Julia was all but used to the three courses she conquered in Missouri, but she was, in fact, the only player from the Show-Me State at the Ole Miss Golf Course. Despite that being the case, Schlitt still took first in a college-like setting. She was used to this thanks to playing in the Junior National Championship at Orlando back in December.

“[Playing at Ole Miss] was literally my dream — the practice facilities there are so good,” Julia recalled. “I’ve been down there before at their junior golf camps, but those facilities are unbelievable.

“I didn’t know anybody down there, so it was different for me. All the golfers there literally lived like five minutes away [from Ole Miss]. They asked me where I was from, and I’m like, ‘Uh, I’m from a smalltown called Jackson, Missouri.’

“They were like, ‘Where?’ and gave me this crazy look like I had flown there. I told them, ‘No it’s not that far of a drive. Like four hours,’ and they were like, ‘Oh, I thought it’d be like eight hours.”

Like several Jackson girls golfers before her, Schlitt hopes to one day play college golf. Two of Julia’s teammates signed with Division-I programs this past school year in 2024 graduates Alana Gilbert (Indiana State) and Harper Ready (Southern Indiana). This is why it’s instrumental for Schlitt to play in out-of-state tournaments.

“When you go different places with new people, there’s a whole different range of competition,” Schlitt said. “It can open your eyes, so it made me think, ‘OK, this is going to be the girls I’m competing against [in college]. Girls were shooting like six and seven under for a day, and they were just like eagling and birdieing. Girls that shoot like 67 and 66 — it’s crazy.”

Schlitt said it was extremely hot while playing down there and that humidity in Mississippi is even more fierce than it is in Missouri. She said it was still a lot of fun, though, and that she made lots of new friends.

“In the front nine, I wasn’t playing really well — I had a bad front nine,” Julia said. “In the back nine, though, I shot one over, so the back nine saved me. That’s one of my biggest things — I can have a bad nine and then turn around, get it out of my head and act like it’s a whole other day.”

Outside of her first-place finishes, Schlitt has also taken second once and fourth twice out of the seven tournaments she’s played these past two months.

Schlitt has four more tournaments this month and having all of this success while still practicing with Jackson on her “off days.” Those really don’t exist for a golfer with her mentality, though.

In her own game, Schlitt said the one area she’s really improved in is her approach shots. This is her second or third shot of a hole when she’s attempting to get the ball close to the green.

“Not hitting [the ball] to the left or right — getting it on to the green because putting is the strongest part of my game,” Julia said. “Approach shots from 100 or 70 yards out [of the green] — just knowing how far to get back [in my stance] and moving your hands up or down on the grip because you can take it halfway, a quarter or full.

“That’s just the thing, you have to go out on the [shooting] range just for days straight. Just days grinding on the range doing 200 half shots or 200 quarter swings in a row. You can’t go out on the course and not know how you’re going to hit a shot.”

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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