From Staff Reports
The girls golf teams at Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield high schools went all the way across the state for a chance to keep playing at home.
Both the Lady Bruins and the Lady Raiders earned slots in the Class 4A state tournament by finishing among the top 11 teams Monday at the Class 4A sectional tournament at Applewood Golf Course in Keysville, just south of Augusta. Northwest shot a 302, while Southeast was powered by a 7-over-par round of 79 from senior Megan Collins on its way to a 313.
The Class 4A girls state tournament is Monday, May 20, at Nob North Golf Course in Cohutta. Northwest is serving as the host school for the girls and boys state tournaments in Class 4A, with the boys playing the same day at Dalton Golf & Country Club.
The last time the area hosted state golf tournaments, in 2009, Northwest’s girls captured the Class 4A title at Dalton Golf & Country Club. The boys played at Nob North that year.
At Monday’s sectional, 13 teams were vying for 11 spots up for grabs in the state tournament. Region champions who shot below the state qualifying mark of 320 automatically qualified for the state tournament, a group that included Dalton’s girls. Teams that finished in the top four in their region and met the qualifying mark advanced to Monday’s sectionals. Carrollton was the top finisher in the sectional with a score of 251.
Northwest advances to state after missing the tournament the past two years, and the Lady Bruins hit the mark despite a rough day for Marlee Bingham, who has been the team’s most consistent player.
Bingham shot a 102 — she had been shooting in the mid-80s, Lady Bruins coach John Linder said — but the Lady Bruins’ Dallas Coker had her best round of the year, finishing tied with teammate Alicia Cole at 100.
“Starting the season, her first score was around a 115 or 120,” Northwest coach John Linder said of Coker. “Her goal this year was to get under triple digits.”
Southeast’s Collins, the 2011 Region 7-3A champion as well as the medalist at this year’s Region 7-4A tournament, came to the par-5 18th hole needing a birdie to break 80. She was on the green in two and lagged a long eagle putt near the hole and was able to tap in for her 79. Rachel Rebne of Heritage-Catoosa, another Region 7-4A program, took medalist honors by finishing two strokes better than Collins.
“Her drives and her approach shots were really good,” Southeast coach Todd Murray said. “She was having some trouble reading the greens early in the round, but she adjusted and got through it well.”
Bethany Reddix (114) and Hannah Dempsey (120) added Southeast’s other two scoring rounds.