PHS Golfers Capture Conference Title
Three contenders for Mid-Southeastern Conference Golfer of the Year honors helped make the Pinecrest girls fourth league title in a row official at Pinehurst No. 1 Monday afternoon.
With first place as a team already sewed up, seniors Tiffany Phasukkan, Kerry Radigan and Katie Roberts came into the match with 18-hole averages within a stroke of each other.
Radigan shot a 79 to earn medalist and player of the year honors while Phasukkan posted an 80 and Roberts came in with an 85. Senior Tina Stenseth and sophomore Kerri Harbour also contributed to the Patriots' success.
"We want to win regionals because we got second last year, that's our goal," Radigan said. "Hopefully, we also want to win states."
Led by Josie Shinn, the Pinecrest girls won both in 2001, Sackmann's first year as head coach. The Patriot boys, also coached by Sackmann, won a state title last spring.
The 4A Mid-East Regional will be held at Whispering Woods next Monday. Jack Britt, Richmond Senior and Scotland County also qualified for that event.
If the Patriots get by that hurdle they will be back on No. 1 for the state championship on Oct. 27-28.
Going into Monday's match, Phasukkan, Radigan and Roberts had each been the medalist twice with no one else in the conference coming close.
Starting her round on the eighth hole, Radigan almost reached the green at the par 5 fourth (14th hole of the day) in two and made a birdie. That put her at 3-over, but she gave back three shots with a triple bogie on the par 3 fifth.
"That killed me," the golfer who moved to Southern Pines from Florida last year said. "I was in between clubs so I tried to choke up on one. My wrist cracked on my follow through and I just pulled it. Then that pin was nasty."
After a chip shot, Radigan's par putt went past the cup, off the putting surface and down the steep embankment that fronts the green.
"I played really well today except for two holes that really cost me," she said. "It really was just a competition between the three of us."
A rough afternoon for Roberts, who transferred to Pinecrest from Union Pines as a junior, included three double bogeys.
"Each of us backs each other up and that's the way it should be," she said. "Finally I started to figure it out a little bit and pieced it back together."
Enjoying being a part of her fourth conference championship squad is Phasukkan who was the runner-up to Gretchen McLean of Douglas Byrd for player of the year honors last year.
"I feel so emotional right now, I can't believe it's over," the Patriot captain said. "I just want to make coach Sackmann proud, whatever we're going to do. It's great to have other players to rely on and to have that support system."
Sackmann recalled Phasukkan's mother approaching her before the start of her freshman season.
"Tiffany's mother told me I would not be disappointed and I never have been," the coach said. "She's been a great captain this year and kept the other girls upbeat. The three of them keep each other going.
"I have two new girls that have worked hard, and I'm very grateful that Kerry moved from Florida and Katie transferred from Union Pines. The three girls have been the core of the team."
With one round deducted for the determination of the player of the year, Radigan finished with a stroke average of 80.7. Phasukkan finished at 81.0 and Roberts at 82.7.
The Patriot coach calls this one of her favorite seasons as a coach. She also thanks the Pinehurst Resort for allowing the team to play matches and practice there. The team was scheduled to play a non-conference match against Grimsley at No. 1 this afternoon.
"Even though it's a small team," she said, "it's been fun because I think you can be closer together. We've got to keep practicing and working hard for two more weeks."
The team scores for Monday's match were: Pinecrest 347, Richmond Senior 408, Jack Britt 415, Scotland County 471, Hoke County 479 and Seventy-First 505.
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