E.A. Sports Today

Just missed

White Plains girls come up short in 4A-5A substate, Dyar qualifies; Glencoe girls win 1A-3A substate, Cole medalist

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

SILVER LAKES — Chris Randall knew it was going to be close. The players were going to have to be sharp from the first tee to the 18th green.

The Class 4A-5A North girls substate at Silver Lakes was expected to be a three-team race for two spots among Arab, Randolph and White Plains.

The Lady Wildcats were the odd team out, shooting 254 and missing the final qualifying spot by three shots.

The issue was decided with half the field still on the golf course. Randolph shot 246 to grab the top spot and Arab was second at 251.

That’s three shots from getting both boys and girls team to the state tournament. Last year White Plains was the only public school to get both teams to state. The good thing is the entire girls team returns next season to make amends.

Randall, the White Plains coach, told his father before the tournament began he thought 250 would get the Lady Wildcats in. It would have.

Randolph’s Michaela Morard was low medalist (69). White Plains’ Hanna Dyar qualified as an individual with a “solid” 75.

The Lady Wildcats also counted 89 from Baylie Webb and 90 from Abby Gattis.
After the first two players posted, White Plains led Randolph by one shot and trailed Arab by four. When Randolph’s Bella Duesing posted an 81 from the No. 3 spot, the door was closed because Gattis had picked up only one shot on Arab’s No. 3.
The turning point for the Lady Wildcats was No. 6 on the Backbreaker nine, its 15th hole of the day. Their three counters played the hole in 5-over-par. Arab played it in 1-under and Randolph in 2-over.

“We knew going 5-over on that hole was going to be tough to overcome,” Randall said. 
Nobody was catching Morard. The Randolph junior and Alabama commitment rolled in five birdies and played the Backbreaker 9 in 2-under. Interestingly, she put a new swing into competition for the first time since shooting 66 in the sectional.
She had been lifting her foot on her backswing ala Jack Nicklaus, but with this new swing she keeps her feet firmly on the ground for more efficiency and power. She just started working on it Friday and said she was more “interested than worried” about the results of it Tuesday.
“It kind of felt a little weird out there, but not like in a bad way, just like in a different way,” she said. “Everything off the tee was OK, but my approach shots were a little (off). It was like a wildcard when I was hitting my approach shots. Sometimes they’d be like two feet, sometimes they’d be off the green.

“The good shots I hit today, when I caught it like I’m supposed to, they ended up like right there. I know that it’ll work, I need to get used it’s just I need to get used to it before state. If I work hard enough every day I should be OK.”
Dyar was sharp on the Mindbreaker side. She was 3-under through five holes with birdies at 1, 3 and 5, and led Morard by two shots. She turned in 2-under with 12 putts on the front. She had a bogey-double bogey finish but said that gives her something to work on going forward.
The key to her round was actually something she learned from playing with Morard during the White Plains Invitational: trying to hit her approach shots within the length of the flagstick.
“When you have six-footers for birdie all day long, that’s pretty good,” she said. “I love playing with Michaela because it really helps me to dial in.”
Morard and Dyar were among the first players to finish in the 4A-5A field, but once it was determined the Lady Wildcats had missed out on advancing Dyar had to wait out the rest of the field to learn if she qualified. The White Plains junior spent the time watching her remaining teammates finish their round.
“I just wanted to go out there and support my team and watch them all come in,” she said. “I shot a 75, I did the best I could … but my score was posted so I was just waiting to see what happened.”

Class 1A-3A North girls

Glencoe coach Jason Pierce anticipated his 1A-3A girls substate to be tight as well, as it was. The Lady Jackets won by shooting 305, five shots ahead of runner-up Mars Hill. Holy Spirit was third at 315.
Glencoe senior Lauren Cole was medalist with 90, marking the fourth time in five years she has qualified for the state tournament and the fifth time in six years the Lady Jackets have had a player in the field. They also counted 107 from Asia Dennis and 108 from Camryn Blackwell.
“It wasn’t the best round we played all year, the best tournament we played all year, but they persevered, got some great leaderships and they found a way,” Pierce said. “There were some closely competitive teams in this substate and I knew we’d have to play well. The scores were a little more inflated because of the difficult of the course here over what the section scores were – I would have liked to have gotten under 300 – but it’s playoff and no matter what sport it is it’s survive and advance.
“When you get to a playoff format to where it’s win or go home, you definitely want to be on that winning side. I’m tickled to death the way they persevered. I think some of what we did today was due to what we’ve done earlier in the week and I’m proud of the girls for being mentally tough enough to do that.”
Cole turned in 40 and was cruising along at 4-over through 13 holes, then had a rough patch on the Mindbreaker 9, but managed to hold it together and finished strong.
“I don’t know how, but I did,” she said. “I’m actually very shocked I did win it, but I’m very grateful. I didn’t play very well at all today, but I’m still blessed to be able to receive it. I better not shoot like that at state.”

This story will be updated.

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