The Daniel Lions built on a big first round lead to run away from the field and claim the school’s second straight South Carolina AAAA state championship.
Chloe Holder didn’t have as big a lead in the individual competition, but the Wren High School golfer improved on her first round to claim medalist honors in the state championship tournament.
Lions go back to back in AAAA
The Lions have won five straight upstate qualifying tournaments and went on to record a runner-up finish in 2017 and titles in the last two years.
“It is twice as much fun to win again,” said Adrienne O’Brien. “All season we have been waiting for this. I’m so proud of the way the team played and it was a really good tournament for all of us,” said the Daniel senior.
The Lions held a 31 shot lead over the field after the first round at the Shipyard Plantation course on Hilton Head Island. In the second round their goal was to improve on a very strong opening round.
“I was so nervous today. I was shaking in my boots,” said Courtney Collins. “We knew we had a strong chance to win, but we still wanted to play our best,” she said.
Collins improved on her first round shaving six strokes off her total.
Peyton O’Brien shot the low round of the day for the Lions. The eighth grader carded a 73 for her career best round to help be on a second straight state championship team.
“When we came out this morning we were trying to improve. Our goal was to beat our scores from the first round,” said the younger O’Brien sister who improved six shots in the second round.
The Lions improved by four-shots in the final round. Daniel posted scores of 321 and 317 for a 638 total and the win.
“We didn’t play as well as we could, but we did play very well,” said Daniel coach Andy Swords. “Improving from yesterday was a big deal for the team and just about everyone did play better” said the coach.
In the last five years the Lions have established themselves as the team to beat in the Upstate and a championship contended in the AAAA division. The team has produced a runner-up finish and two state titles.
“I think winning the championship a second time was better than the first one. The girls were willing to go out and work hard to achieve it one more time. They were not satisfied with one win they wanted another,” said the Daniel coach.
Joining Peyton O’Brien on the All-State team were Jennifer Goa, Adrienne O’Brien and Courtney Collins while Sarah Whitfield contributed to the team’s success.
“I think the best part of winning again was how close we all are. We are like a big family, like sisters. Having fun being around each other has made this year awesome,” said Peyton O’Brien.
When you win one title people want to know if you can win a second championship. Can the Lions produce a thre-peat with a win next year.
“We lost a two players from last year’s championship team and we will lose a couple this year. We are going to have to find a few players who can contribute a counting score, but if everyone works hard it is possible,” concluded Swords.
Holder claims AAAA individual championship.
The future Georgia Southern golfer won the Women’s South Carolina Golf Association’s Junior championship and the Carolinas Golf Association major Vicki DiSantis championship during the past summer.
She kept winning in the fall by claiming the Orange Jacket title in September.
Adding a state championship to an outstanding year was a goal for Wren’s Holder.
“All the wins are big. I couldn’t pick one over the other as being the best,” said Holder. “Each one is different, but winning a state high school title says something special,” said the high school junior.
Holder didn’t play as well as she had hoped in the first round, but still had the lead. Even with a double bogey on her finishing hole she maintained a two shot lead over Kennedy McGaha from Belton Honea Path and her teammate at Wren Katelyn Lee.
“I didn’t have the putter rolling the first day and my game just didn’t come together,” said Holder. “I got off to a much better start the second day and shot a 68,” she said.
Holder didn’t make a bogey in the second round and went on to win the championship with a two day total of 140 to finish at four-under par.
“I have wanted to win a state championship since I started playing high school golf. I’ve been working towards this goal for a long time and it is really cool to get it,” she said.
AAAA Team and Individual scores . Girls AAAA SC State Championship Leaderboard – Final