The Dorman Cavaliers came from two shots off the lead in the final round to capture the South Carolina AAAA girls golf championship at The Country Club of Lexington.
The Cavaliers were led by Natalie Srinivasan who claimed the individual title in the 36 hole tournament. Srinivasan carded identical rounds of 2-under par 70 for a 140 total and a four shot victory.
The Cavaliers made up the two shot difference early in the final round. On the back nine the Cavaliers stretched their lead to the final total of five shots and their first team championship since 2000.
“All of this team were in cribs the last time we won the title,” said Dorman head coach Lewis Terry. “We have four seniors who played today and they have been working towards winning this title for as long as they have been with us,” he said.
Lexington has been the dominant girls golf program in the state winning 11 of the last 12 team titles. They had beaten the Cavaliers convincingly in a match earlier in the season.
“I told the girls this was the last chance they would have to beat Lexington and if they did they would be state champions,” said the coach.
With Hailey Cleary and Gracyn Burgess the Wildcats had two experienced and successful golfers who finished the first day three shots off the pace set by Srinivasan. Terry expected Lexington to play the final round like they did not want to give up the title.
“I asked the team to grind it out and play one shot at a time and not let the golf course beat you. Play your game and you should win,” he added.
While Srinivasan was adding to her lead the other members of the team were doing what was needed to win the title. Olivia Slatton improved her first round score by six shots posting a final round 78.
“I knew we needed two scores in the 70’s if we were going to win. Before the round I gave each player a golf ball with a message I had specifically written for each player and I told them I believed in them,” said Terry.
Abigayle Hatcher, Paige Johnson and Audrey Martin all contributed to the team’s winning effort. Maria File did not play in the state final, but also helped with the team’s success this year.
Srinivasan, playing in the final group of the day, did not seem to be bothered by the weather and played a very steady and consistant round.
“If you come out and dread the conditions you won’t play well,” said the Dorman senior. “You just hunker down and go do it,” she said.
Last year’s runner up never deviated from her game plan for the tournament. “I just tried to keep it in the fairway and keep hitting greens. If the putts went in that was great, but I didn’t want to shoot myself out of it,” said Srinivasan.
The state championship is a special win that fits in nicely with a handful of AJGA titles that Srinivasan has won during an outstanding junior career.
“Its pretty awesome, this is another thing to add to my list. Everyone wants to win a state championship so this is pretty humbling,” Srinivasan said.
Mauldin’s Ashley Czarnecki trailed Srinivasan by one shot after the first round, but could not close on the leader. The future Ol’ Miss golfer shot a final round 73 to take second place.
Cleary and Anna Morgan from Spartanburg tied for third while. Kate Harper of Wando, Jensen Castle of White Knoll, Anna Chanthaphaeng of Boiling Springs, Gracyn Burgess from Lexington, Alyssa Campbell of Clover and Stephanie Landreth of Easley received All-State honors.
Boiling Springs had a strong showing as the Bulldogs finished in third place with Wando in fourth and Mauldin fifth.
Click this link for final scores and team standings