It will be a case of round up the usual suspects as South Carolina high school girls get ready for Upstate and State Championship tournaments.
The fields are set for the three classifications of competition that will identify the teams that will advance to the state championships at three locations in the state on October 22-23rd.
While there are no trophies or medals for winning the Upper State, it still is an important accomplishment.
Emily Dunlap of Mauldin has finished as the top individual golfer in three straight Upper State championships. Last year she went on to finish as the runner-up in the state championship.
Elle Johnson won the individual AAAAA state championship last year and will attempt to make it two in a row if she can advance from the Upper State tournament at the Waterford Golf Club in Rock Hill.
The two Upstate golfers will have a new competitor in their classification this year. Future South Carolina golfer Smith Knaffle from St. James won the individual title in AAAA last year and moves up a classification this year along with her team.
The Sharks won the AAAA team title last year and have been ranked in the high school polls just behind defending AAAAA champion Lexington.
The Wildcats have dominated the big school classification with 12 team titles and two straight. Only Dorman in 2016 and Wren in 2012 have been able to top Lexington in the last decade and a half.
Another challenger to Lexington’s dominance in the classification is Boiling Springs. The Bulldogs won the difficult Region II title to advance to state.
Last year Boiling Springs finished as the runner-up to the Wildcats. Before the season started Boiling Springs had high hopes of closing the 49 shot gap between the two teams in last year’s tournament.
The Boiling Springs team changed dramatically when the AAAAA Classification refused to give the school an exemption to include golfers from district neighbor Chesnee on their team again this year.
Chesnee golfers, in the same school district, had played for the Bulldogs in the past.
The exemption was allowed because Chesnee did not have a girls golf team. Parents thought the fix was in when the exemption was not granted again this year believing the other AAAAA schools saw a potential state championship team that could be broken up by a vote.
Three players left to play on the new Chesnee girls team, but the remaining players produced another Region title and a challenger for the state championship.
The AAAAA teams competing for the opportunity to play for the state championship are, Blythewood, Boiling Springs, Byrnes, Nation Ford, Dorman, Gaffney, TL Hanna, Clover, Spartanburg, Fort Mill, JL Mann, Spring Valley, Greenwood, Wade Hampton and Woodmont.
The top 8 teams will advance to the AAAAA State Championship to be played at Mid-Carolina Country Club on October 22-23rd.
Daniel High School has been knocking on the door for a state championship for the last few years. The Lions have been a consistent winner this season and has been on top of the AAAA poll all year.
The Lions benefit from St. James, last year’s champion, moving up a classification.
Katie Whitfield, the 2017 runner-up has graduated, but the Lions have a balanced team that has been the top AAAA team in tournaments with AAAAA teams this year.
Pickens which won the AAA title in 2014 is expected to be a strong contender for the team title with Daniel.
AAAA teams competing for the opportunity to play in the state championship are, Daniel, Pickens, Travelers Rest, Blue Ridge, Greenville, Wren, BHP, Walhalla, York, Ridgeview, South Pointe and Eastside.
The top 8 teams in the Upper State final will join teams from the Lower State at the Hackler Course in Conway for the AAAA State Championship on October 22-23rd.
Oceanside is the defending champion in the AAA-AA-A combined classification tournament. Last year the Landsharks won the state title with only four girls on the team. This year the team has been top ranked in the state poll.
When the AAAAA schools would not allow three Chesnee golfers to play on the Boiling Springs team this year Chesnee started a girls golf team.
The three girls who began playing for their school joined new team members and won their region.
The new Eagles have been ranked in the top five in the classification all year and could be a contender for the championship along with Gilbert.
AAA-AA-A teams and individuals will compete for the opportunity to play for a state title by advancing from the Upper State qualifying tournament. Pendleton, Powdersville, Seneca, Liberty, West-Oak, Chapman, Chesnee, Christ Church, St. Joseph’s, Ware Shoals, Emerald, Greer Middle College, Landrum and Fox Creek.
The top teams will join the qualifying teams from the Lower State at Carolina Springs Golf Club in Simpsonville for the State Championship on October 22-23rd.