COHUTTA, Ga. — Third place was crowded with area talent Monday in the GHSA Class AAAA girls' state golf tournament at Nob North.
Dalton's Lady Catamounts shot 276 and were the third-place team among 16 in the competition. Also, Heritage's Rachel Rebne and Southeast Whitfield's Megan Collins each shot 81 and tied for third on the individuals list.
Carrollton was the day's big winner. Led by medalist and Samford signee Sydney Needham's 2-over-par 74, the Lady Trojans were the team winners with a score of 250. They finished 13 strokes ahead of runner-up Columbus, and Needham ended up four shots ahead of runner-up Cairo's Kayla Wilbourn.
This year for the first time the GHSA rather than have two counting scores in girls' play had three scores out of four count for the team total. Dalton's were Carson Roberts' 90, Mable McKone's 91 and Ashleigh Roberts' 90. Including Olga Fouche, whose 99 did not count, each Lady Catamount's nine-hole scores fell from 42 to 51.
Dalton coach Nancy Halsworth said she was expecting to be playing tees a little farther back, which is where she'd had her team practicing from, and felt it took a little time to adjust. In any case, the coach believes the Lady Catamounts' finish is their best in school history at a state golf tournament.
"I was excited," Halsworth said. "We're a young team with one freshman, who had our best score today, two sophomores and a junior. They'll all return next year.
"We could've used some putting and some short game, but I'm very proud of them. It's a joy to coach them."
Rebne, who next year will play golf at Berry College near Rome, Ga., shot 40 and 41 for her total.
"I thought I hit the ball really well," Rebne said. "I was having a really hard time putting on a lot of holes on the back. I three-putted some or had putts for birdies that I didn't make. I started off with a birdie and ended with four pars. I played pretty solid."
Collins wasn't upset with her finish but said she's played practice rounds on the course before and scored better.
"I was missing some putts I should've made," Collins said. "I kind of started off a little shaky. It could've been nerves, I don't know. Overall I guess I'm satisfied. There's always a part of me that thinks I could do better."
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.