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SALISBURY — 20 feet stood between Grace Yatawara and redemption on No 18 at Country Club of Salisbury.
After recording a double bogey on Hole 15 and bogeying 17, the Salisbury sophomore had to finish her best round yet with a strong final step to reach par.
The following putt and ensuing fist pump declared her satisfaction with the lowest score of the day and led Salisbury to its fourth-straight region championship. The Hornets finished with four state final qualifiers to orchestrate another championship appearance.
Yatawara, Tuesday’s medalist at the 1A/2A Central regional match, shot 72 for her best round ever at her home course. It was a good trial run heading into the state championship match next week.
“That was a tough pin placement,” Yatawara said of the final shot. “I really wanted a birdie on that hole after I three-putted on 17. It was big to get even.”
Yatawara bogeyed the second hole, but bounced back with a birdie on four. Yatawara birdied 14, but struggled on the next hole. On 15, Yatawara struggled on the green and made it in seven strokes on the par 5.
“She didn’t want to finish over par when she played well all day,” Salisbury coach Dale Snyder said. “Her and Isabella [Rusher] have been going back and forth all year long.”
Two-time defending state individual champion Isabella Rusher shot 76. Rusher birdied No. 13 and shot 38 on both sides.
“We’re looking around the state and they’re two of the four or five girls that can win the individual title,” Snyder said of Yatawara and Rusher.
Elkin’s Mary Francis Hall, last year’s regional champ, came in fourth with 83. Annika Winebarger, a Catawba signee from Elkin, was third with a 79. Elkin (275), South Stokes (285) and Gray Stone (289) all qualified for the state match.
Salisbury’s Madeline Hoskins had a 90, finishing her round in 31/2 hours before jetting off to Brevard for a playoff tennis match. Shelby Holden made the state final match with a 118 to give Salisbury four qualifiers.
“It was really important for her to make it,” Snyder said. “That gives us a buffer in case something bad happens.”
The Hornets, winners of two consecutive state 1A/2A titles, will play two rounds for the championship at Longleaf Golf & Country Club in Southern Pines next week. SHS has four state championships in the last eight years.
“It’s always a great time,” Snyder said. “It’s an event we look forward to all year.”

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