Emily Cox has made a practice of winning big tournaments on the final hole with a great putt. The Andrew Jackson High School golfer added the AAA High School championship to her list of final hole victories.
Cox eagled the first playoff hole to top Peyton Gillespie of Christ Church and win her first state high school championship.
“Ever since I started playing back in the seventh grade I always wanted to win a state championship,” said Cox. “There is nothing that compares with this, it is amazing and awesome,” she said.
Cox has the ability to compare major victories. She won two Blade Junior Championships and the Vicki DiSantis Junior as well as playing in the USGA Junior Girls Championship.
Cox and Gillespie of Christ Church finished at 141 for the 36 hole championship. Gillespie shot rounds of 71 and 70 to earn a spot in the playoff. Cox shot an opening round 67 for the lead, but fell of that pace with a 74 in the second round.
“My accuracy wasn’t as good and some of the putts just didn’t fall. My putter was good when I needed it and I finished strong with a birdie on the last hole,” she said.
Gillespie did the same thing on the other side of the course. Her birdie on the par-5 ninth hole forced the playoff.
Both golfers were able to reach the green on the par-5 18th hole with their second shots. Gillespie played first and rolled her 30 foot putt just past the hole.
Cox’s putt was a little shorter. It was slightly uphill and had a little break.
“The only thought I had was don’t leave it short. You can’t leave a state championship putt short,” said Cox.
The putt broke right at the hole and slid around the cup before falling in for an eagle. Having claimed a couple of wins with successful putts on final holes Cox had confidence in her ability to wrap up the win.
“It does help to know that you have done it before. You know you can win and you are capable, but playoffs are never easy. They are nervewracking,” said the AAA champion.
Gillespie had to suffer from deja’ vu on the final hole at Carolina Springs. In August the Cavalier sophomore lost a 10 hole playoff for the Greenville County Women’s championship when her opponent eagled the same 18th hole.
“This was completely different than before,” said Gillespie. “I just wanted to play better today than I did yesterday and I was one shot better. I can’t complain about that hole, I made eagle on it in both rounds,” she said.
The top-8 golfers earned All-State honors. Joining Cox and Gillespie on the AAA All-State team were, Kathleen Sumner of Bishop England, Gabriella Martinez and Rachel Rich from Oceanside, Emerald’s Anna Grace Brock and Anna Parramore along with Sophia Burnett from Bluffton.
The team title was won by first round leader Bishop England of Charleston. The Bishops shot a two day total of 645. Bluffton finished second with a 687 total while Powdersville finished third. Tournament host St. Joseph’s of Greenville finished in fifth place.
Emily Cox Interview