With three freshmen and two sophomores in the lineup, some might thought this would be the year to close the gap on the Lexington girls’ golf team.
The Wildcats golfers had other ideas as they captured the Class 5A championship Tuesday at Mid-Carolina Country Club. It was Lexington’s third straight title and 13th in 15 seasons.
“We knew it was going to be pretty close or I felt it would be pretty tight with Blythewood and Boiling Springs playing so well at upper states,” Lexington coach Brandon Smith said. “It was really tight after the first nine yesterday but our girls came on strong and the last 27 holes we played lights out.”
Lexington led by just two shots after the first nine holes Monday but entered the back nine Tuesday with a 15-shot lead. Lexington shot a 300 in the final round to finish with a 613, 27 shots better than Upper State champion Blythewood.
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Clemson commit and freshman Isabella Rawl was the individual state champion with a 2-under 144 to lead the Wildcats. Sophomore Karlee Vardas (148) was second and freshman Molly Hardwick (148) was fourth as both earned all-state honors.
“We are fortunate to have good players for a long stretch,” Smith said. “Luckily, we have two back for two more years and three back for three more years.”
Chapin was ninth and River Bluff 11th.
In Class 3A, Gray Collegiate’s Jensen Castle won the individual state title in dominating fashion. Castle finished with 137 to win by 10 shots for her second state title. She won Class 5A individual state title at White Knoll in 2016.
Castle’s 137 is a Class 3A state record for two-day state tournament and one off state record set by Lexington’s Lauren Stephenson in 2014.
Castle’s sister, Jalen and Gilbert’s Kennedy Gooding tied for third with a 150 to earn all-state honors. Gilbert finished fourth, four shots out of third place.
In Class 4A, A.C. Flora finished third and Falcons’ Bonnie Chapman (163) earned all-state honors with a ninth-place finish. Dreher’s Jordan Guyton shot a 153 and finished fourth in earning all-state honors.
Team Scores: Lexington 613; Blythewood 640; Boiling Springs 657; St. James 670; Byrnes 701; Fort Dorchester 714; Gaffney 720; Dorman 721; Chapin 725; Wando 727; River Bluff 729; TL Hanna 742; Carolina Forest 763; Nation Ford 791; Spartanburg 832; Stratford 912
Top-10 (All-State): Isabella Rawl (Lex) 144; Karlee Vardas (Lex) 148; Adrian Anderson (SJ) 149; Elle Johnson (Spart) 150; Molly Hardwick (Lex) 150; Emily Dunlap (Mauldin) 152; Mia Gray (CF) 152; MK Talledo (BS) 152; Smith Knaffle (SJ) 154; Madison Dixon (BS) 155)
Team Scores: Daniel 654, Pickens 692; AC Flora 720; Myrtle Beach 730; Hartsville 735; Hilton Head Island 737; Travelers Rest 751; Blue Ridge 761; Greenville 772; North Myrtle Beach 775; Belton Honea-Path 788; Walhalla 811; Wren 832
Top-10 (All-State): Emma Charles (Har) 146; Ashley Looper (TR) 147; Kennedy McGaha (BHP) 148; Jordan Guyton (Dre) 153; Gillian O’Brien (Dan) 155; Emileigh Swords (Dan) 159; Rachel Page (Pick) 160; Katelyn Lee (Wren) 160; Bonnie Chapman (ACF) 163; Jordan Deck (Pick) 166
Team Scores: Oceanside Collegiate 630; Bishop England 688; St. Joseph’s 700; Gilbert 704; May River 723; Chesnee 733; Chapman 733; Christ Church 748; Powdersville 752; Ware Shoals 759; Emerald 771; Greer MC 772; Landrum 786; Pendleton 787; Georgetown 792; McBee 797
Top-10 (All-State): Jensen Castle (GCA) 137; Anna Grace Bock (Emer) 147; Kennedy Gooding (Gil) 150; Jalen Castle (GCA) 150; Sydney Roberts (Ches) 150; Rachel Rich (OC) 152; Peyton Gillespie (CC) 152; Kennedy Carroll (BE) 153 Gabriela Martinez (OC) 154