CARTERVILLE — Despite getting off to a bad start, Murphysboro senior Hannah Gahagan was the clubhouse leader for over an hour before finally finding she won her first regional title by one stroke Wednesday at the Carterville 1A girls golf regional hosted by Crab Orchard Golf Club.
Gahagan advances to next Monday's sectional at Centralia.
“When I woke up today my only thoughts were to play golf and not who I was playing against,” Gahagan said. “During a round I try not to add up my score as I play because I do better when I don’t know, so when I added it all up, I thought I did pretty good considering the bad holes I had on first nine holes.”
Gahagan teed off on the back nine and quickly ran into trouble. After a par on the first hole, she carded a triple bogey followed by four consecutive bogies before recovering with three pars to make the turn at seven-over par.
“My start was kind of rough, but I turned it around on my second nine,” Gahagan said. “I did good on my first hole, but when I got to the second I hit one out of bounds and that kind of threw me off a little bit. I had a few bad holes after that, but I was able to turn it around.”
She continued her par streak on the first two holes of the front nine before suffering another bogey. After a par on the next hole, Gahagan bagged her first birdie on hole five. She made two more pars before suffering a double bogey on hole eight.
“At I made the turn I was thinking ‘grind it out’ I guess, and try to make it through the day,” Gahagan said.
Gahagan finished strong with a birdie on her final hole, which provided her winning margin.
Massac County won its fourth consecutive regional title and its 15th in the last 16 years by 30 strokes with a team score of 325. The Lady Patriots were led by seniors Millie Lawson and Mady Blair and junior Madie Coakley, who along with Pinckneyville senior Megan Breslin, all finished tied for second — one stroke behind Gahagan.
“They did really well,” said Massac County coach Laurie Glass. “The only disappointment was not winning medalist, but I’m happy for Hannah. She’s a good player.”
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Also scoring for Massac County was sophomore Lily Conkle, who cared a 85. Rounding out the Lady Patriot squad were senior Madision Cunningham (89) and sophomore Alexis Frazine (101).
“We’re consistent,” Glass said. “Despite back-to-back doubles, this was Mady Blair’s best round ever. I like where we’re at right now even though they all know they could play better.”
Pinckneyville finished second for the third time in the last four years. Megan Bresliln’s twin sister Sarah was second on the team with an 82, followed by senior Graci McDaniel (88), junior Kally Mayo (105) and freshmen Breyona Schandl (117) and Zoey Bremmeier (143).
“Crab Orchard has always been a tough course for the girls, so we’re quite happy with the end result,” said Pinckneyville coach Dan Breslin. “I don’t think anybody was too happy with their scoring today. Megan made a snowman on 15 and it was amazing Sarah made an 82 because she was heading for 90 with back-to-back doubles on the back nine.”
Carterville edged out Herrin by three strokes with a team score of 421 to advance to the sectional as a team after missing the cut last year.
Junior Ali Lamb led the Lady Lions with an 84 to finish seventh overall. Rounding out Carterville’s squad were senior Alexis Nolen (100), junior Madison Campbell (117), sophomore Heidi Gentry (120), junior Bailey Shoemake (120) and senior Jessica Hobek (134).
“All our kids are either in their first or second year of golf and they all contributed today,” said Carterville coach Keenan Clark. “Ali Lamb had a really good day even though she took a 10 on the front nine by having enough composure to keep her score down to give us a chance.”
Despite not qualifying as a team, Herrin qualified four golfers, led by seniors Paige Wieland (96) and Sydney Nugent (101), sophomore Zoe Williams (113) and freshman Brenna Guswelle (114), who qualified by winning a playoff.
Anna-Jonesboro was one stroke behind Herrin and qualified three golfers in senior Emma Ray (98), junior Sydnie Ralls (100) and freshman Marlee Smith (113). Losing the three-way playoff for the ninth and 10th advancing positions was junior Hannah Hileman, who finished with a 114.
Also qualifying as individuals were Zeigler-Royalton-Christopher senior Savannah Sherman (105) and West Frankfort junior Matison Hampleman (114), who won the playoff to grab the last advancing position.