E.A. Sports Today

White Plains leads 4A-5A girls golf

Even on a bad day, defending champs have enough to build a substantial first-round lead; JCA’s Borders leads 1A-3A girls

White Plains' Layne Dyar blasts out of the greenside bunker on Highlands No. 11.

White Plains’ Layne Dyar blasts out of the greenside bunker on Highlands No. 11.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HUNTSVILLE — For as long as there’s been a White Plains golf program under coach Marcus Harrell, the Wildcats have played by one philosophy.

Make sure your bad days are better than everyone else’s good days.

That was never more pertinent than Monday in the opening round of the AHSAA girls 4A-5A state championship at Hampton Cove.

The defending champion Lady Wildcats posted a 243 on the Highlands Course – 79-82-82 — that didn’t come close to being their best, but it was plenty good for a 31-shot lead over second-place Demopolis going into an expected rainy and perhaps abbreviated final round Tuesday.

“When he first said that it took a little while to understand it, but once it clicked … it takes some of the pressure off,” Morgan Prickett said. “This year has really proven it.”

Meanwhile, JCA’s Chloe Borders, playing as an individual and in her first state tournament, leads in girls 1A-3A after shooting what she called a “pretty mediocre” 78 on the Highlands Course. She leads by three over Tuesday playing partner Hannah Pope of Mars Hill.

“I knew I could be (a tournament leader) but I didn’t really think I was going to be,” she said. “I was going to be happy if I shot around what I wanted to shoot – 75 or lower. I’ve said a ton of times I hope my game was enough.”



If White Plains is going to pull off a championship double, its boys will have to make up a lot of ground. They shot 320 on the River Course and are fourth in Class 4A, but only eight shots out of second.

Among the other Calhoun County players here, Donoho’s boys shot 339 on the Highlands Course and were fourth in 1A-2A. And Alexandria’s Abby Stevens, a substate sudden-death playoff winner for an individual spot, is tied for sixth in girls 4A-5A after an 81.

County champion Layne Dyar shot the White Plains girls’ best round, a 79. The Lady Wildcats also posted 82s from Hanna Dyar and Prickett. They have shot better, but they are still on track to complete a championship Grand Slam that includes county, sectional and sub-state titles.

“We always want to make sure that our worst days are better then everyone else’s best days; that’s our goal,” Harrell said. “I don’t think everything was clicking right for us today, but our girls are fighters. They fought through the whole round and that’s what’s getting us the lead.”

Layne Dyar was 1-under early in the round, but had a rough time on the back. She bogeyed three of the first four and finished double-bogey. She admitted there were times she wanted to give up, but hung in there for the sake of the team.

Prickett was 5-over through 10 and appeared to have things straightened out until a tough stretch through 15, 16 and 17 ran up her score.

Hanna Dyar got off to a rough start. The eighth-grader was 6-over after three holes and 11-over at the turn, but turned it around on the back with two birdies and a bogey. She nearly holed a pitching wedge on the par-3 16th, which brought a big cheer from her dad, Calhoun County schools superintendent Joe Dyar, who was following the group.

“We all knew how well we played last year and we wanted to play better than that and I didn’t do that today,” Layne Dyar said. “Hopefully we’ll go out there tomorrow and shoot some good scores.

“It makes me feel a little bit better (they led without playing their best) but I know we still have to play really good tomorrow.”

Borders didn’t have a birdie in her round, but she didn’t have a double bogey that derailed it, either.

She bogeyed her first two holes, but a four-group logjam on No. 3 that might have been an annoyance actually calmed her down. She parred the next two holes and played her last 16 in 4-over.

“It was pretty tough; I thought it was tougher than Silver Lakes,” she said. “I struggled a good bit today; I had to fight for it. It wasn’t an easy 78, even though that wasn’t too low of a score. It wasn’t easy at all.”

But it might have been predictable. She shot 78 her practice rounds each of the previous two days.

“I was happy with today,” she said. “I could have shot a few strokes lower, but where I’m at I’m OK with.”

Jacob Lecroy posted Donoho’s best round on a day the Falcons struggled across the board. Playing five days after the loss of his paternal grandfather, he shot 81.

Lecroy was 2-under through three holes, even through eight, then five-putted No. 9 for a triple bogey. He shot 42 on the back, playing the last four holes in 5-over.

“It was a long round,” Lecroy said. “I really wasn’t thinking about (losing his grandfather) during the round, trying to put it out of my mind, but now I’m kind of sad.

“If I could’ve putted today (the round) would have been so much better. I’ve never had a five-putt before. I just kept going around and around. I was hitting good putts and they just didn’t fall. And then I just couldn’t hit close after that. I had a 20-footer every hole; I just never hit it close enough to make a birdie.”

For the sophomore-laden White Plains boys, an appearance in the state finals is an achievement in itself. While winning the state title may be a reach given the 28-shot gap between themselves and leader UMS-Wright, The Wildcats haven’t ruled out a second-place finish.

Lone senior Layton Bussey shot 75 for White Plains with five birdies, including a chip-in on 12. He was 4-over through six holes, but played his last 12 in 1-under. Nathan Griffin, one of four sophomores in the lineup, was 9-over through four holes and played his last 14 in 1-under with an eagle on the par-5 15th.

“I think we gained a lot of experience today, which is a lot bigger than what people think it is,” Harrell said. “We had four of the five who had never played in this event and it showed early on.

“This whole year has been a learning experience for us. There’s two types of golf: There’s golfing with your buddies and then there’s tournament golf, and you’ve got to figure out how to play tournament golf. That’s what this year’s been about for all the sophomores we have playing.

“It’s a total different thing when you’re out here playing, you’re grinding, and you know it’s for the blue trophy. We’re going to learn from this, we’re going to bounce back tomorrow and I expect us to post a good round.”

Alexandria’s Stevens was 2-over through 11 holes, but two doubles and two bogeys in the middle of her back nine knocked her down the leaderboard.

Donoho's Jack Svensen reacts to his putt during Monday's opening round of the AHSAA state tournament.

Donoho’s Jack Svensen reacts to his putt during Monday’s opening round of the AHSAA state tournament.

At RTJ-Hampton Cove, Huntsville

Providence Christian 301
Houston Academy 315
Decatur Heritage 318
Donoho 339

UMS-Wright 292
Oneonta 312
Trinity 317
White Plains 320

White Plains 243
Demopolis 274
UMS-Wright 277
Russellville 304

St. Paul’s 295
Russellville 299
Guntersville 319
Central-Clay Co. 331

Individual Top 10
Sophie Burks, Trinity 38-35—73
Anna Reid, Demopolis 40-36—76
Grayson Gladden, Helena 41-36—77
Anna Fassnacht, Brooks 37-40—77
Layne Dyar, White Plains 37-42—79
Abby Stevens, Alexandria 38-43—81
Lauren Gilchrist, UMS-Wright 38-43—81
Morgan Prickett, White Plains 40-42—82
Hanna Dyar, White Plains 47-35—82
Ashton Moore, Russellville 42-42—84

Individual Top 5
Chloe Borders, JCA 39-34—78
Hannah Pope, Mars Hill 39-42—81
Jordan Clark, Winfield 43-40—83
Stephenie Fowler, American Christian 43-41—84
Ellie Porter, Westbrook 42-42—84

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