Published: Oct 25, 2011 09:19 PM
Modified: Oct 26, 2011 12:10 PM
DURHAM - The Middle Creek girls golf team is used to playing tough golf. So Mondays 4A eastern regional at the Duke University Golf Club was just business as usual after their battles in the challenging Tri-Nine Conference ranks this season.
On a day that was more than tough (just one player scored in the 70s), Middle Creek was tough and balanced, posting three scores in the 80s and taking the team regional crown at 258, two strokes ahead of fellow Tri-Nine member Athens Drive. Tri-Nine members Apex and Green Hope both finished at 280, but Apex got the third place spot based on a scorecard playoff. A total of 26 players advanced to next weeks 4A state championships at Pinehurst No. 6.
We knew scoring was going to be tough today, Kennedy Smith said. We just tried to get as many pars as we could and keep battling when a shot didnt go our way.
Smith, a senior who tied for fifth individually with younger sister, Britney, had a round that included six birdies and a pair of birdies. They turned in matching 85s. Betsy Dohrer, a junior like Britney Smith, shot 88 for the Mustangs and was 10th individually.
We knew that this was going to be a tough regional, said Middle Creek coach Robbie Wray. But weve played in a tough, competitive environment all year. You just look at the leaderboard here today and its the teams we played against all year, Tri-Nine teams.
But weve had five different players contribute team scores for us this year, so we knew we had the depth capable of giving us a good team score.
Individual medalist Sarah Bae, who shot an even-par 74, was more concerned that her one bad hole hurt Athens Drives chances in the team race than she was about her win.
I didnt do anything fancy, I just wanted to play well enough to put myself in contention, said Bae, who had played in a tournament at the course earlier this year, shooting back-to-back rounds of 67 and 69.
I just feel bad because I feel like that one bad hole I had cost us as a team, Bae said of her struggles on the par-5, 461-yard 11th hole. It was my third shot and I was in between clubs, I just hit it wrong. I felt like I had the right club.
Bae was one of many players in the field struggled on the longest par-5 (461 yards) on the course, whose green is guarded by Toms Creek.
Smithfield-Selma senior Brittany Talton was second individually with an 81, a year after she was forced to withdraw from the regional because of sickness. Tri-Nine individual champion Catherine Ashworth of Fuquay-Varina and Cap Eight champion Stephanie Pribonic of Wakefield tied for third with 84s. Kat Jessick led Apexs effort with an 86, while Heritage freshman Rhea Bhatia and Garner sophomore Nichole Ceyrolles tied for eighth with 87s.