High School Golf

“This is the one!” Dorman crowned AAAAA Champions

The 2022 Dorman Cavaliers compoleted a perfect tournament season with a convincing win in the SC AAAAA Championship at Holly Tree Country Club. (GolfClub Photo)

by Jed Blackwell Associate Editor-Publisher

The AAAAA golf season has largely felt like a coronation for Dorman.

On Wednesday afternoon at Holly Tree, the Cavaliers finally grabbed the crown.

Dorman capped a remarkable season, one in which the Cavaliers won every single event the first team entered, with a score of 365 and a 29-shot victory over second-place Chapin in the state championship match.

Dorman entered the day with a 20-shot lead, saw it dwindle a bit on the front nine, but roared back for the victory. 

In a season that demanded championship expectations, the Cavaliers could be forgiven for feeling a little bit of relief with the title win. Coach Olivia Herring said that wasn’t the case.

“It’s joy,” she said with a wide grin. “If you’d asked me on the front nine, I probably would have said relief. But watching them come in, it made it all the more sweet. We made the turn, and I talked to each one of them and told them that this is the time to turn it around. The front nine wasn’t our best, but we knew we had a chance to really make a difference there.”

That they did.

Every score that counted for the Cavaliers was better on the back nine, and they finished strong.

Seniors Maddie Grace Peake and Abby Franks both had looks at eagle on the par-5 18th, and both finished with birdies.

“To have your two seniors finish their high school careers with a birdie, you could just tell we had turned it around,” Herring said.

Cavalier seniors Maddie Grace Peake and Abby Franks finished their high school careers making birdies on their final hole. They led the Cavaliers to an undefeated tournament record this year and the South Carolina AAAAA championship. (GolfClub Photo)

Both seniors, who first played for the Cavaliers when they were seventh-graders, knew the finish was something special.

Peake barely held her emotions in check as her putt dropped, and was sobbing when she walked off the green.

When Franks’ birdie fell moments later, the seniors embraced and cried together. Both said the raw emotion came from the realization of how far the program has come, and the work they put in.

“For younger players, I would just tell them to soak it all in,” Peake said. “It goes by in the blink of an eye. This was a very emotional season for us.”

“It’s really sad to leave everybody,” Franks said. “But this is a huge accomplishment, we worked really hard, and we’re all really proud.”

The two seniors were backed up all year by the championship team contributions of Ava Romansky, Londyn Rath and Maddie Carraway.

Caroline Hawkins was the only golfer to finish under par at Holly Tree. The Blythewood golfer edged out Dorman’s Abby Franks for medalist honors. (GolfClub Photo)

There was plenty of drama on the course, despite Dorman’s dominance.

Blythewood’s Caroline Hawkins made three birdies on the back nine to finish at even par for the day and as the only golfer under par for the two-day event, edging Franks by one stroke for individual medalist honors.

“I feel like I played pretty well,” Hawkins said. “There were a couple of shots I feel like I could have improved on, but overall I played great. My putting and chipping were working well. I got up and down quite a bit, and my misses weren’t bad. I just feel like my game kind of fit together this week.”

Mauldin’s Olivia Pellerin was third, and Hawkins’ teammate Ella Stalvey was fourth.

Peake tied for fifth with Ashley Ridge’s Avery Smith.

Carolina Forest’s Mia Gray and Boiling Springs’ Madison Dixon tied for seventh, while Chapin’s Mia Andrade and Lily Reed Black were ninth and tenth.

In the team standings, Dorman wasn’t the only squad that leaned on a strong back nine performance.

T.L. Hanna improved by 21 strokes on the back side, including a combined 19-shot swing from Annaston Bell and Serra Erlenkeuser, to take a seven-shot advantage over Carolina Forest and Blythewood, which finished in a tie for fourth.

Mauldin, Byrnes, Lexington, Wando, and Ashley Ridge rounded out the Top 10.

Blythewood’s Caroline Hawkins (center) was the only golfer under par at the AAAAA state championship at Holly Tree, winning individual medalist honors. Dorman’s Abby Franks (left) was second, and Mauldin’s Olivia Pellerin (right) finished third. (GolfClub Photo)

The last time a team from outside the Columbia area won a state title in the state’s largest classification was 2015. That, too, was a Dorman win.

Herring said bringing the title back is especially sweet.

“It’s a feeling of accomplishment, for sure,” Herring said. “This is what we’ve been working for. This is what we’ve been waiting for. It’s joy. I don’t know how else to describe it. This is everything. Winning during the season is great, and we want to get all of those that we can, but this is the one.”

Scores from the SC AAAAA High School Championship at Holly Tree Country Club https://birdiefire.com/tournament/132736/

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