Patriot Girls Lock Up League Golf Honors
The most unpredictable thing going into Monday’s final Southeastern Conference girls’ golf match of the season at Pinehurst No. 1 was the weather.
Pinecrest had already wrapped up the league title, and Patriot junior Gabrielle Weiss had a lock on player of the year honors. The weather cooperated long enough for all of the players to finish.
The Patriots made it six wins in a row. Weiss finished with an even-par 72, giving her four rounds of par or better out of the six wins. The other scores included in the winning team total of 323 were a 77 by junior Savannah Thompson, an 85 by senior Haley Robinson and an 89 by junior Chrissy Boals.
All four earned all-conference honors along with sophomore Catherine Cirigliano, who posted a 96. Also for the Patriots, junior Elaine Kearney had a score of 100.
Coach Jennifer Kearney’s squad will be seeking its second Central Regional title in a row at Pinehurst No. 6 next Tuesday. The 4-A state championship will also be held at No. 6 on Oct. 29-30.
Weiss, who is ranked 10th by Golfweek among North Carolina girls, played on the boys’ team at her high school in Pennsylvania before moving to Pinehurst last fall. She has an average score of 71.4 this season (based on five best scores out of six). On a day she struck the ball well, quite a few birdies were left on the table.
“I’m pretty happy with my year,” she said afterward. “I’ve enjoyed it a lot better than my freshman and sophomore years, playing on an all-boys’ team. It’s more relaxing and fun playing with the girls. We have such a good chemistry.”
Thompson and Robinson were clearly having fun playing together in the same threesome behind the group Weiss was in.
“We had fun all day,” Thompson, the 2011 conference player of the year, said. “I wanted to play with her so badly because it’s her last conference match ever. It was kind of bittersweet. We’re going to miss her a lot.”
Robinson was asked about the improvement in her game that has seen her stroke average in league matches drop from 96.7 when she was a sophomore to 89.3 last year and now 84.4 this season. Earlier in the season, she shot a 79 at Bayonet to match her best score.
“The short game,” she said. “That’s pretty much the key to a good round. ”
Even though Thompson didn’t repeat as player of the year, she reduced her average by almost a stroke to 76.4. Cirigliano finished at 90.4 and Boals at 93.0. Megan Munroe of Hoke County, who shot a 76 at No. 1, was the third conference golfer to average under 80 for the season, coming in at 79.8.
The Patriots were led by Thompson and senior Hailey Crider when they won last year’s regional at Pinehurst No. 8 by five strokes over second-place finisher Hoggard. They went on to finish fourth in the state tournament. Crider has missed this season because of illness, but has supported the team as a captain.
“I’m excited to see what happens,” Weiss said of the postseason events ahead. “I don’t know what to expect, so I’m going to go out and try to have fun, pretty much.”
The 10 all-conference selections also included Meredith Godwin and Jade Hunt of Purnell Swett, Ashley Barringer and Kaylon Ganus of Scotland High. The final team standings were: Pinecrest 36, Scotland 30, Hoke 21.5, Purnell Swett 20.5, Richmond Senior 9.5 and Lumberton 8.5.
Monday’s team scores were: Pinecrest 323, Scotland 379, Hoke 391, Purnell Swett 400, Lumberton 449 and Richmond 457.
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