Viking Girls Claim Conference Golf Title
The Union Pines Lady Vikings officially captured the 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference golf championship Tuesday in Whispering Pines at Whispering Pines Country Club.
It was the first girls’ league golf title for Union Pines since the 2008 season — a campaign that saw Vikings’ Amanda D’Ostroph, Laura Kinsman and Samantha Gilder catch lightning in a bottle twice on the links by repeating as the 1-A/2-A/3-A NCHSAA team golf state champions.
This season’s 2012 Union Pines team, which went undefeated in league play at 7-0, has been led by two talented players at the top of its lineup in junior Lindsay Dakin and freshman phenom Abby Parsons.
Parsons claimed medalist honors in all but one of her team’s seven matches this season, including taking top honors at the CFVC championship where she was named the league’s golfer of the year.
“No words can describe what the success feels like,” said the young Parsons. “I have worked so hard for this and I am very proud that I got the award.”
She has been playing golf competitively since the sixth grade, so her freshman season marks her fourth as a regular competitor in the sport. Parsons has played in many tournaments conducted by the TYGA (Tarheel Youth Golf Association), EJGA (Eastern Junior Golf Association) and First Tee-Tin Whistles.
When asked to describe her biggest strength as a player, Parsons, who currently has an adjusted 18-hole high school stroke average of 80.8, was quick to point out her prowess with the big stick. At the same time she was quick to admit that by her standards, her performance with the flat stick has been less than desirable.
“What really makes my game so successful is my driving,” said Parsons. “I am called ‘Bubba’ from many golf friends because I hit it so far — a reference to PGA Tour star Bubba Watson. The longest drive I have ever hit was 284 (yards) at my home course, National (Golf Club).
“The part of my game that has loads of room for improvement is my putting. This season I have three-putted so many times, it makes me sick, so I am really trying to fix it.”
While Parsons was a welcomed newcomer to the team, Dakin, a junior, has been a mainstay for the Vikings going on three seasons now. This year she played a solid No. 2 behind Parsons, accruing an adjusted 18-hole stroke average of 86.8 in CFVC play while earning all-conference honors for the third time in her career.
“The Union Pines golf team has come a long way since I was a freshman,” said Dakin. “That first year I was the only one on the team for a couple of matches until other girls came forward. Every one of the girls has improved drastically over the past few years such as Channah Valkos and Kayla Jackson.
“I feel over the past two seasons we have really stepped it up and focused more. Having a coach (Tom Parsons) this year that really encouraged us to play better played a big part in our undefeated season. And we as a team are really close and get along really well. We’re like sisters.”
Overall Union Pines had five golfers selected to the all-conference team, including Dakin and Parsons, along with Olivia Blue, Valkos and Jackson.
“Individually, I believe that there was really only one thing that helped me stay steady,” said Dakin, “and that was the fact that I kept a clear head and never really got upset. Throughout the past few seasons the team as a whole has improved, not only in the golf game but in the knowledge of the game. We also gained an amazing golfer, Abby, and an awesome coach who really brought us all together.
Up next for the Vikings is a trip to Nashville for the NCHSAA 3-A East Regional Championship, which are set to be contested Monday at Birchwood Country Club that is set to play around 5,600 yards. Tee times will begin at 9:30 a.m. on the No. 1 and No. 10 tees.
Both Dakin and Parsons are energized about their team’s next challenge.
“I’m very excited for regionals,” said Dakin. “I had an amazing time last year and am looking forward to this year. I believe that we could do very well as a team at the regional match and hopefully make it as a team to states.”
The top four teams automatically qualify for the state championship along with the top 14 individuals at each of the three (East, Central and West) regional sites. This season the 3-A state golf championship for girls will be contested in Southern Pines at Longleaf Golf and Country Club on Oct. 29-30.
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