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Salisbury golf standing strong

By Bret Strelow
bstrelow@salisburypost.com
As the list of match wins grows, Salisbury’s Madison Kennedy looks forward to losing one thing: the tan lines on her left leg.
The Hornets beat the second-place team by an average of 25.5 strokes during an 8-0 start to their season, and they matched West Rowan’s total of 136 during a nine-hole round with NPC representatives Thursday at Rolling Hills.
Kennedy, Lily Yatawara, Catherine Parks, Amber Lyerly and Brooke Smith compete for Salisbury, which claimed sixth at the 1A/2A/3A championships last year.
Lauren Smith, a sophomore at UNC Greensboro, and Allison Lee, a freshman at Winthrop, led the Hornets to state titles in 2005 and 2006.
“We’ve got Lauren’s little sister out here, and I see Allison’s parents all the time,” Salisbury coach Dale Snyder said. “We lost two great girls the last couple years, but this is one of the best team’s I’ve ever had. We’re so deep.”
The loss of Ledford due to realignment reduced the number of CCC schools with girls golf teams to three ó not enough to form an official conference. The Hornets have participated with NPC squads at times and are scheduled to face Grimsley today in Greensboro.
Kennedy, a junior who tore the MCL in her left knee five months ago, has recorded Salisbury’s best score or tied for the team lead in six of nine matches. Kennedy and Lyerly, also a junior, had 43s on Thursday.
Yatawara, a sophomore who missed the last two matches because of sickness, has led the Hornets three times. Lyerly has shot 41 on three occasions, and Parks had a season-best 39 in Salisbury’s fourth match.
“We’re really close as a team, and it’s awesome to have girls that I know I can count on,” said Parks, the team’s senior captain.
Kennedy injured her knee during a soccer match in mid-May. She scored a first-half goal in Salisbury’s 1-0 playoff win against North Lincoln and went down 15 minutes into the second half.
Kennedy began playing golf again about two months later and wore a brace until she was cleared to compete without it several weeks ago.
“It was hard to get used to at first, but after a while, I got kind of used to it,” Kennedy said. “Once I was able to be cleared and off of it, it was hard to get rid of it.”
Kennedy didn’t need much time to change her mind.
Portions of her leg formerly covered by the brace are still lighter than exposed areas that darkened during sun-splashed rounds this summer.
“I’m very glad I don’t have it on,” she said with a laugh.
Kennedy just missed out on qualifying for the state tournament last year. She shot 99 at the regional and fell in a tiebreaking playoff against two other players.
She posted sub-40 scores, including a 34 at McCanless, in each of Salisbury’s first three matches this season.
Yatawara leads the team with a 38.9 average thanks to her recent emergence. She had an even-par 35 at Warrior and recorded 37s in each of her last two outings.
“This summer I practiced so much, probably at least 4 hours a day,” Yatawara said. “After I started playing better, it wasn’t bad. I felt like I should be playing well after that.”

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