Madison’s girls golf team opened its season Monday with a last place finish against an elite field at the Bloomington South Invitational.

Playing at Bloomington Country Club, the Cubs struggled as a team to shoot a 493 as sophomore Keara Eder shot a 90 and junior Jenna Imel carded a 129 while freshmen Grace Bronkella and Ally Skirvin shot 130 and 144, respectively, in their first varsity matches.

Defending state champion and No. 1 ranked Evansville North won with a 294 while No. 3 Carmel was second at 313, No. 6 Westfield took third with a 322 and No. 5 Columbus North was fourth at 326. Evansville North’s Faith Johnson shot a 69 to edge Carmel’s Katie Kue by a stroke for medalist honors.

“I knew today was going to be a challenge for us. Whenever you throw two freshmen, one of whom who has never played a hole of competitive golf before, into a tournament like this, it has the potential to get rough out there,” Madison coach Jake Shockley said. “And while nobody ever wants to come in dead last in anything, I think we showed some real toughness out there. The ladies showed a lot of composure when things weren’t going there way.”

While Shockley didn’t know what to expect form his freshmen in their first 18-hole varsity match, the lack of scoring by Eder and Imel was more unexpected.

“Keara and Jenna had, what I hope to be, uncharacteristic days,” Shockley said. “Keara and Bloomington Country Club just don’t seem to get along. She just couldn’t seem to get it going with any kind of consistency today. She got off to an OK start, but instead of finding a rhythm like she seems to like to do, she carded some double bogeys near the middle of her round. She was a little better on the back half going 47-43.

“Jenna got stuck in a crazy rut and could never get out of it. Hopefully, we can pinpoint what she was doing, or sometimes you just need to sleep those off,” Shockley added. “Unfortunately, in golf, you can’t go to the bullpen and put in a reliever. She just had to grind it out today. Grace showed some flashes out there and I really like where her game is going. Ally had the opportunity to just kind of throw in the towel and she toughed it out majorly. She has the desire to learn and get better. Every coach loves that.”

Shockley said going up against a tough field on a challenging course early in the season could help the team in the long run.

“I told the girls last week that today was going to be a baseline and the idea is to improve from here. We were missing someone I think could be a key golfer for us today, too, in Alivia Brawner,” he said. “Putting the score aside, the ladies have been working very hard over the summer and I hate that the first one came out this way, but I’m not shocked by it. I think if they continue to work as hard and focus as much as they have been, we can make some pretty nice improvements. Time will just have to tell on that one.

“The great thing about girls golf season is there isn’t a lot of time to dwell on bad days or revel in the good ones. We’re at Seymour on Wednesday,” Shockley said.

Teams scores were: Evansville North 294, Carmel 313, Westfield 322, Columbus North 326, Evansville Memorial 344, Floyd Central 350, Franklin Community 358, Gibson Southern 380, Bedford North Lawrence 387, Evansville Central 389, Seymour 408, Terre Haute North 409, Vincennes Rivet 422, Jasper 423, Columbus East 424, Bloomington North 432, Bloomington South 435, Madison 493 and Edgewood (no team score).