Lexington is back in a familiar position after capturing the Class 5A girls golf state tournament title.
Lexington shot a two-day total 645 to finish 38 shots better than second-place White Knoll, and re-claim its spot as the top team in South Carolina. The Wildcats won 11 of the past 13 Class 4A titles, including a runner-up finish in 2015.
“It feels really good to win, knowing that I didn’t play my best golf today,” Lexington’s Gracyn Burgess said. “Knowing I had the team to back me up when I came in, having that team atmosphere all year has been great.”
Burgess, who led after the first round, shot 80 on Tuesday, dropping her to second. White Knoll’s Jensen Castle shot back-to-back rounds of 76 to win the individual title.
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“It was an emotional ride both days,” Castle said. “Coming into the back nine today, I started to realize my score, so I had to force myself to slow down and think about the shot I’m playing rather than what was ahead.”
White Knoll’s second-place finish is the best in school history, and could be a springboard to raising the trophy next season.
“We lost our third and fifth players at the beginning of the season, so we were a little lost at the start of the year,” Castle said. “This is amazing to go out and finish second in this event. We just have to give it our best. Lexington is a great team, but if we keep playing over the summer, we can get there.”
The Wildcats went into the second round with a 16-shot lead over White Knoll. With such a substantial lead, coach Brandon Smith made sure his girls just played their game.
“I told the girls to just play solid golf, and not get caught up in looking at what other players were doing,” Smith said. “If we could replicate what we did Monday, then we would be fine.”
It was almost a mirror image as Lexington shot rounds of 323 and 322.
“The biggest thing was the girls still had that bad taste in their mouth from last year,” Smith said. “That disappointment from losing, (Gracyn) had it from the beginning of the season, and she really pushed these girls to be their best.”
Blythewood finished third, followed by Boiling Springs and Fort Dorchester. The Bengals’ Parker Stalvey finished fifth, earning all-state honors along with Castle, Burgess and Lexington’s Isabella Rawl and Karlee Vardas.
In the Class 4A tournament, Chapin finished 11th, while A.C. Flora finished 12th. St. James won the event. Dreher’s Jordan Guyton (151) finished fourth to earn all-state honors.
In the Class 3A tournament, Gilbert’s Kaylee Price finished 37th.
Class 5A tournament
Team scores: Lexington 645; White Knoll 683; Blythewood 701; Boiling Springs 709; Fort Dorchester 713; Spartanburg 740; Byrnes 742; Dorman 763; Wando 773; Carolina Forest 791; TL Hanna 795; Northwestern 808; Ashley Ridge 814; Socastee 826; Mauldin 843; Fort Mill 846;
Top 20 individuals: Jensen Castle, (WK)152; Gracyn Burgess, (L) 154; Isabella Rawl (L) 156; Anna Morgan (Sp) 156; Parker Stalvey (Bwood) 157; Alyssa Campbell (C) 159; Jalen Castle (WK) 159; Karlee Vardas (L) 160; Emily Dunlap (M) 160; Delanie Mortier (FD) 162; Victoria Hall (B) 163; Kerrington Lamb (E) 164; Mary Kathryn Talledo (Bwood) 164; Elle Johnson (Sp) 167; Grace Zoller (AR) 170; Maggie Smith (BS) 172; Amber Amaker (BS) 172; Kayleigh Reinke (N) 173; Payton Starmack (SV) 174; Lauren Fix (FD) 175.