E.A. Sports Today

Well worth the wait

Borders channels her favorite player, then waits nearly two hours after posting to become JCA’s first AHSAA state champion

JCA's Chloe Borders follows her tee shot on the par-3 11th Tuesday. On the cover, she walks to the 12th tee for a shot that was key to her championship. Below, she displays her low medalist award.

JCA’s Chloe Borders follows her tee shot on the par-3 11th Tuesday. On the cover, she walks to the 12th tee for a shot that was key to her championship. Below, she displays her low medalist award.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HUNTSVILLE — Chloe Borders has been a big Fred Couples fan for a long time. So, it only seemed natural she channeled a little inner Couples on her way to winning the biggest prize of her high school golf career Tuesday.

The Jacksonville Christian senior, playing as an individual in her first state final, waited nearly two hours after her final high school round posted before claiming medalist honors in the girls 1A-3A state tournament. She protected her overnight lead with an 81 on a windy Hampton Cove Highlands course and won by four shots over Mars Hill playing partner Hannah Pope.

“I’m just real excited,” she said through a big smile when the results finally were announced.

You don’t win a championship without some breaks along the way and Borders got a big one on No. 12, reminiscent of another big break on the most famous 12th hole in the world.

Just like Couples miraculously defied gravity on the bank of 12 green during his Masters win in 1992 — six years before Borders was born – Borders had a shot that appeared headed for a watery grave bounce out and settle six inches on the bank. Her second shot came out low, but avoided the greenside bunkers and she got up and down to save par.

“That shot really did keep my motivation going,” she said. “I think I was getting pretty tired, getting worn down. I was thinking ‘six more holes, five more holes, four more holes’ and that definitely boosted my confidence a good bit. I was pretty excited about it.”

It’s unknown what the ball hit to stay out of the lake, but there was a plastic drainpipe jutting out of the water with a hole in its side about where Borders’ ball appeared to have hit the water.

“When that thing popped out I was amazed; I did not think it was going to,” she said. “When I hit it I thought it was in the water, so it was a nice break, but I think I was prepared if I had to take a drop or hit another one. I was really excited about the second shot that didn’t go in the sand.”

The next big break came on 15 when she scrambled for par out of the hazard and Pope, who had finally overcome her first-hole 9 with three straight birdies, missed a short putt and made bogey. Then on 16, Pope hit her tee shot in the water and took a double to Borders’ par.

The 81 was the best round of the day in girls 4A-5A and left Borders with a two-day total 159. As the first group out she had to wait for the rest of the field to come home to see if she would become the Thunder’s first ever AHSAA state champion.

She spent the time trying to do things that would keep her mind off the situation. During the wait she reflected on the bible verse that held if the time were right for her to become a champion it would happen. It was and she did.

“I’ve just been praying and hoping what I did shoot would be enough,” Borders said. “I was nervous, but now I can’t do anything about it.

“When I’m playing I could control some of it, but now it’s over, so if I don’t win there’s nothing I can do about it, nothing I can change. That calms me a little bit, to know that my part is done. But I’m still nervous.”

A few hours later the wait was over, the final group had finally checked their scorecards and Borders was holding the plaque for low medalist.

CLASS 1A-3A GIRLS
Individual Top 10

Chloe Borders, JCA 78-81—159
Hannah Pope, Mars Hill 81-82—163
Jordan Clark, Winfield 83-83—166
Ellie Porter, Westbrook Chrisitian 84-85—169
Molly Norris, Winfield 89-83—172
Stephenie Fowler, American Christian 84-89—173
Hope Cone, Westbrook Christian 90-88—178
Allison Howard, Providence Christian 94-87—181
Sydney Fairchild, Westbrook Christian 93-91—184
Tori Roush, Bayside 103-83—186

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