Jacqueline Twitty’s commitment to strengthening the mental aspect of her golf game was put to the ultimate test at last week’s Class 3A Upper State qualifier.
The Chapin senior hit her first tee shot of the day into the water and began her quest for a state championship with a double bogey.
“A year ago, I might have bounced back with a few good holes, but that one bad shot would have stayed in the back of my mind and taken away my focus,” she said.
That didn’t happen. Instead, Twitty ended up firing an impressive 7-under 65 to claim individual honors by two strokes over Palmetto’s Makaylyn Poole.
“I’m learning from past experiences,” Twitty said. “I try to forget about the bad shots, pretend they never happened. I’m starting to control my emotions a little bit better. After that (first) shot, I cleared my head, and everything seemed to click.”
Twitty enters as the favorite for medalist honors with Poole as the main competition. The Eagles’ leader cracked the top 10 last season for the first time, but was not happy with the result – a 36-hole total of 154 strokes, good for a tie for seventh place.
“I kind of wanted to get closer to the top, but it wasn’t my year,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ll have a better chance this year. I’ve always wanted a state championship ring. It would make all the hard work I’ve put in over the years worth it.”
Twitty has come a long way since starting her Chapin career with a 210 score at state as a seventh-grader in 2009.
“Jacqueline has done all the right things to improve her game, and she’s had great support from her parents,” Chapin coach Kent Honea said.
Twitty is the reigning three-time club champion at Mid-Carolina County Club – replacing her mother, Charlotte. Her father, Jeff, is the men’s club champion.
Twitty and Poole are in the first threesome for Monday’s first round of the state tournament at Black Bear GC in Longs.
“We played there at state last year, too,” said Twitty. “I’m anxious to see how the course plays for me this year, because I’ve added distance to my game over the last year.”
Twitty is the third Chapin female golfer to earn a college scholarship, following the lead of former teammates Mary Catherine Bryan (College of Charleston) and Libby Crawford (Presbyterian). Twitty committed last year to Louisville.
“I never expected to go to school north of here, but I just fell in love with (Louisville) when I went for a visit,” Twitty said.
Airport is the only Midlands team qualifier. Airport finished sixth at the Lower State qualifier.