Cambridge, widely considered the best team in Class AAAAA and heavily favored to win the state title, was the region champion with a total score of 225. Creekview placed second at 255, followed by Pope (283) and Northview (299).
Sequoyah did not have enough golfers make the nine-hole cut to account for a team score.
Cambridge advanced to the May 19 state tournament at Augusta’s Jones Creek Golf Course. Meanwhile, Creekview, Pope and Northview will first compete in a May 5 sectional at Canongate I Golf Club in Sharpsburg.
Cambridge also had the top three individual placers Thursday, with Payton Schanen winning medalist honors following her 73.
Following the Cambridge trio was Creekview’s Meghan Nay, who shot 81. Also scoring for the Lady Grizzlies were Claire Roop (86) and Lauren Bird (88).
Creekview coach Casey Gramling said it was no surprise the Lady Grizzlies finished second.
“We were playing for second all along,” Gramling said. “I think Cambridge will win the state (title). I think we have a good shot to win sectionals, and that is our goal.”
When Creekview gets to the sectional, Gramling, like he has all season, will count on Nay, Roop and Bird to score well.
In girls golf, four individuals are allowed to play each round, with the top three scores counting toward a team’s total. It allows for one player to have an off-round and it not hurt the team.
Creekview hasn’t had the advantage of being able to cut away its lowest score, with the Lady Grizzlies’ roster carrying just the three members all season.
Nay and Roop have played together for a couple of seasons. Bird recently joined the team after transferring from Woodstock.
“If Lauren hadn’t come along, I would have been walking the halls just begging someone to play, so that Meghan and Claire could compete and try to make sectionals and state,” Gramling said. “Lauren came and it was a blessing, because not only is she a good little golfer, she fits in well with the girls as far as chemistry.”
Gramling said it has been a challenge to play with just three members on the team. Knowing all three girls are skilled golfers, he was most concerned with accidental disqualifications.
“The main thing I had to worry about going into (Thursday) — because I knew that we were good enough to qualify for sectionals — was something happening where a girl got disqualified,” Gramling said. “We would be in trouble. We wouldn’t be able to qualify with only two scores. So far, knock on wood, it hasn’t been an issue yet. We just need to get through sectionals and get to state without having just three girls being an issue.”
Gramling said his golfers double-check to make sure everyone has no more than the maximum 14 clubs in their bag, and that everyone knows the course and tournament rules.
“They are all good golfers,” he said. “They know their score is going to count, and I think that helps them focus a little bit more. Still, it’s stressful. There is no doubt about that.”
The girls also have to be dedicated. None of them can miss an event, or the team can’t put together a score to place.
Gramling said the girls aren’t just dedicated to golf, they are dedicated students as well. Roop, a sophomore, is the top-ranked student in her class. Nay, a junior, is sixth in her class.
“Having to go to regionals, sectionals and all that, they have to miss school,” Gramling said. “That is added stress for them, but they do it all for the team.”
With three eighth-graders practicing with the team at the driving range, Gramling doesn’t expect small numbers to remain in Creekview’s future. Even if just those three join the Lady Grizzlies as freshmen next year, that would give the team a roster of six since none of the current ones will graduate.
“Obviously, the eight-graders can’t compete this year, but we should have them next year,” Gramling said. “I know that I should have at least six, and possibly more.”
Gramling said he didn’t want to look ahead to the sectional until he knew his girls had qualified. He doesn’t think that any of them have played the Canongate course, so the plan is to travel to the sectional a day early and play a practice round before teeing off for real.
“We will get a look at it, but I don’t think any of the girls have prior knowledge of it,” Gramling said.