After winning my district, I was off to regionals at Tom’s Run Golf Course. I heard from other golfers that previously played at regionals that the course had some very challenging and tight holes which is an advantage for my game. I’m usually very accurate with my driver and approach shots which is helpful when there are lots of trees or hazards on a course. I was excited for my practice round so I could see the “crazy” holes and figure out my strategy to play them.
The first day we left Erie early in the morning so that I could play a full 18 and have enough time to spend on the holes to get familiar with the speed of the greens, take notes on areas I wanted to land the ball, pins to stay below, etc. My teammate came along with me so we enjoyed playing together – I told her this could be extra practice for her if she ever makes it to individual regionals!
I was really thankful that I played the practice round because there were holes where I had to adjust my normal strategies. For example, there was a par 5 where I hit 5 wood, 7 iron, gap wedge because of the layout of the hazards. I birdied it when I played! There was a par 3 where the tees were elevated so much so that I played it almost 3 clubs down of the actual yardage to the pin. I also got a good feel for the greens after a few holes since they were a bit slower than the ones I played at districts.
The morning of my round was a little bit hectic because of all the golfers, however, I got to the range early so that I had a spot to hit balls. I was hitting the ball solidly and felt more and more confident with each swing. I was there to play my best round and wanted to move on to the state championships- it had been one of my goals since the beginning of 2019.
I started off with consecutive bogeys, I was 5 over through 5. I kept missing makable putts and missed almost every green in regulation, but I was determined to play better for the remainder of the holes. I finished the front nine 4 over after making 2 birdies, one was on a par 3 and the other was from a fairway bunker. I wanted to shoot well on my next nine so that I would qualify.
I played well at the beginning of the back nine but bogeyed my last two holes, so I shot a 40 on the back nine as well. I was really disappointed in how I started and ended my round, because I had some amazing shots and 3 birdies throughout the 18 holes. I wasn’t sure if it’d be enough to qualify…
As I was looking at the scoreboard, my heart was racing. Not all the scores were in yet, but I was in 5th place, and only 5 girls out of the 10 advance to states. When all the scores were finally in, I double and triple checked before I got excited, and I saw that I made it to states. I was only 3 strokes from tying for first- the competition was very tight! I knew that I would play better at states and the mistakes I made could’ve been avoided, but I didn’t forget how I turned around the bad start and persevered to shoot a round that was so close to my competitors.
I couldn’t wait to see the course (Heritage Hills Golf Resort) again and to prepare for my rounds. I was ecstatic that all of the hard work I put in this year paid off, and I reached my goal of advancing to the state championships as an individual.