Prep Golf: Salisbury girls win state championship

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011

By Ryan Bisesi
SOUTHERN PINES — Salisbury tried to contain its excitement from being on the doorstep of a state championship all day and when the time came, the truth came out.
“This is awesome,” said Salisbury coach Dale Snyder while chaneling the enthusiasm of the teenage girls he coaches. “These girls are unbelievable.”
The Hornets carried a 20-shot lead into the final round of the 1A-2A girls golf state championship, making Round 2 at Longleaf Golf & Country Club a formality. Salisbury ended up winning state by a mere 33 strokes, a resounding display of the dominance. The sharpness of Monday’s performance wasn’t quite there, but with the lead the Hornets amassed, it didn’t matter.
“Last night at dinner, we kept talking about painting our cars and shooting silly string when we win,” Madeline Hoskins said. “I kept thinking ‘We haven’t won anything yet, guys.’ ”
It was redeeming after the Hornets finished second last season to 3A West Henderson in the 1A-2A-3A tournament. In a 1A-2A match, Salisbury didn’t have to worry about heartbreak.
Freshman Isabella Rusher was the medalist and individual champion with a two-day score of 157, edging Allea Hawkins’ (Hendersonville) and Emily Brooks’ (Pittsboro Northwood) 158. Even with the pressure of the state looming on her shoulders, the 14-year old came through and overcame some early struggles on the greens.
“Even though I came in with a three stroke lead, I couldn’t give any shots away,” Rusher said. “Even the surest of putts were very important.”
Rusher shot a 83 Tuesday with 42 on the front nine and a 41 on the back. She lead the field with a 74 Monday to earn a three stroke lead. Rusher said her short game was a bit off on Tuesday as she was 5 over after six holes. She hit par on the next two to recover.
“She’s what, 14 years old,” Snyder said. “Playing for the state championship is a lot of pressure and I don’t care what age you are. That 83 today is a great score.”
The Hornets shot a 254 Tuesday. They had a stellar 242 in the first round, ironic considering Monday’s weather was cool and damp while Tuesday was sunny and warmer. The final score equaled a 496, well ahead of Northwood’s 529 and East Surry’s 541.
Low scores were rare Tuesday as Elkin’s Mary Frances Hall led the field with a 77 and Brooks shot a 79. No other score broke 80 on the par 71, 6,600-yard course.
“I think the groundspeople wanted to make sure we had a true state champion,” Snyder said. “This course played tough for all these girls. Some of those pins were in some tough spots.”
Hoskins, a multi-sport talent, shot a 90 Tuesday for a 177 total. She has a chance to win two state championships this week with the tennis team in the West final tomorrow against Shelby.
“My putting didn’t go very well today,” Hoskins said. “I guess I was just excited about everything going on.”
Lily Yatawara shot an 81 for the second day in a row to finish tied for fourth individually with a 162. Yatawara shot 40 on the front nine and 41 on the back nine. She had a 37 on the back nine on Monday.
“Coach Snyder told us the score was 0-0 and we had to win today’s match,” Yatawara said.
Yatawara parred the opening two holes and birdied No. 6. Holes 7 and 8 were pars before she ended the front nine with a double bogey. Yatawara met par of four of the first six holes on the back nine and finished with bogeys on 17 and 18.
“My hitting was off, but my short game was actually good,” Yatawara said. “Today I definitely played a more solid round.”
Brooke Smith shot a 108 to round out the scoring for the Hornets.
“I’m so proud of our team, Smith said. “This feels really good.”
Snyder, who was at Longleaf in May for the boys’ state championship, agreed.
“I hope it doesn’t go away for a long time for these girls because they certainly earned it,” Snyder said.