After two near misses, Green Hope finally rose to the top to win its first girls’ state 4A golf championship.
The Falcons put together two solid rounds at Pinehurst No. 1 to claim the team title after finishing third and second the previous two years. They did it behind senior Meghan Symonds, who shot 75-76 and finished fourth in the individual competition.
“I’m beyond happy,” she said. “This has been our dream since our freshman year. It’s always been a goal to place at least in the top three but to win is even better, so we are really happy with it.”
The Falcons shot 243-240 to prevail by nine shots over Pinecrest (247-245) of Southern Pines. The 2013 team champion, Ardrey Kell of Charlotte, trailed by only two shots after the first round but finished third with 245-255.
“This is outstanding,” said Green Hope coach Mike Robinson, who is in his first year of coaching the Falcons. “The girls were third and second, and now first. It’s pretty cool to do that. They played hard and concentrated the whole time. I’m very proud of them.”
Senior Amanda Yannoni shot 81-82 and sophomore Reilly Thomas 87-82 for the other Falcons’ scores.
“Meghan crushes the ball,” Robinson said. “She’s a long ball hitter and has a good short game. Amanda is down the middle every time. Her short game is sometimes a little suspect but she’s always under control. Reilly has the potential to go low. She brought it.”
Yannoni said, “I really thought this would be our year. We had great team chemistry. We worked on our putting after the first round.”
Holly Springs, which defeated Green Hope in the regular season, shot 260-245 to finish fourth and Fuquay-Varina carded 253-253 for fifth place. It gave the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference three of the top five teams in the state.
“It was a good representation of our conference,” Fuquay-Varina coach Chris Jones said. “The top three teams in our region came from our conference. We compete against those teams eight times a year. It only makes you better when you see that kind of competition. It shows when you come to play the state. We have three of the top teams in the state. It says a lot.”
Natalie Peterson led Holly Springs with 75-80, Courtney Normand shot 91-77 and Abby Snidemiller 94-88.
Catherine Ashworth led Fuquay-Varina by finishing second in the individual competition with rounds of 74 and 72. Brittany Greene had 82-80 and Anna Bennett 97-101.
All of the players and coaches were happy about moving the 4A championship to Pinehurst No. 1 where the resort’s clubhouse served as a backdrop to the finishing hole. The scoreboard also was set up on the clubhouse veranda.
And just a few short steps away was the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2 where the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open were played in June. Behind the green is the famous statue of Payne Stewart, where many players posed for photographs after their round.
“It’s amazing,” said Jennifer Chang of Athens Drive, the 4A individual champion. “Lots of people don’t get an opportunity to play here. Knowing that we get the opporturnity to play as high schoolers is pretty awesome.”
Ashworth had similar feelings.
“This is a beautiful setting,” she said. “We are lucky to be able to play somewhere like this. It’s really special for all the girls and myself to be able to come here.”