College Golf

Gooding and Anderson dominate SAC championship

ANDERSON – The host team turned the South Atlantic Conference women’s championship into a coronation Tuesday afternoon.

With a 30-shot lead headed into the final round at Cobb’s Glen, the Trojans kept the hammer down, firing a team round of 294, good for six-over par.

That left Anderson with a one-over 865 for the three tournament rounds, 34 shots clear of second-place Wingate.

Led by the SAC Freshman of the Year, Kennedy Gooding, the tournament results favored the Trojans by a lot.

Kennedy Gooding won the individual SAC championship at Cobbs Glen. (GolfClub Photo from Gwinn Davis Media)

“They were just locked in this week,” Anderson coach Denton Moore said of his team. “I think we all wanted this one. We won last year, and coming back to defend,being at home and around all our people – administration, parents, everybody – I think they just put the extra time in this week. We really had a strong game plan they wanted to stick with, and they did a really good job.”

Moore said being on familiar territory helped the Trojans as well.

“This golf course, you can’t really learn it in a day,” he said. “That’s what everybody else had to do, and we’re here all the time. It’s a tough track if you’re not ready for it. We definitely had an advantage. But they stuck to their game plan and executed it to an elite level. I’m super proud of them, no doubt.”

The Trojans dominated the individual stats, as well. Kennedy Gooding finished as conference champion with a three-day total of 212, four under par. 

Teammate Jessica Rathbone was second at 214, Kennedy McGaha was third at 217, and Kerington Lamb tied for eighth at 224. 

Zoey Iglasias finished in a tie for 11th at 227.

“Kennedy Gooding is a freshman, and she’s already won once this year, which is a huge accomplishment,” Moore said. “Then to turn around and win the South Atlantic Conference championship is special. Jessica Rathbone and Kennedy McGaha are All-Americans. They did exactly what we expected them to do. It’s not easy, because they expectations are so high, but they live up to it every tournament. They were awesome. and then Kerington and Zoey were great, too. We don’t get it done without all five of them.”

Gooding said the performance even surpassed her goals from the beginning of the season.

Anderson coach Denton Moore helps Kennedy Gooding line up a put during her run to the individual championship at the SAC tournament. (GolfClub Photo from Gwinn Davis Media)

“We made goal sheets at the beginning of the year,” Gooding said. “I could not even imagine what I’ve accomplished this year. This has been the best freshman year I could ever imagine, and this is just something that’s making it even better. I know we’re not done, we still have a lot left to accomplish, but I’m very proud of myself and my teammates.”

McGaha said the wet conditions early in the tournament didn’t affect the Trojans very much, and that the course familiarity that Moore put so much emphasis on did come into play.

“I think we played pretty consistent overall,” McGaha said. “We tried to minimize damage, to not make doubles and triples, just make bogeys. We’ve played this track a bunch, so we know were to miss it and where not to miss it. It all boils down to that.”

Happiness and hugs after the Trojans wrapped up the 2023 South Atlantic Conference Championship played at Cobbs Glen. (GolfClub Photo from Gwinn Davis Media)

Rathbone said the repeat conference championship is the realization of a goal the team set forth back in the fall.

“I feel like this has been something that we started at the beginning of the fall semester,” Rathbone said. “We’ve been working all last semester and this semester toward conference. The feeling was so good last year that we wanted to do it again, but even better.”

Nilubol Panno was the first player not from Anderson to make the scoreboard, finishing fourth at 219, Wingate’s Hailey McLaughlin was fifth at 220, Carson Newman’s Maeve Cummins finished sixth at 221, Limestone’s Pennie Osterberg was seventh at 223, Thalia Perez-Vieco from wingate was tied for eighth at 224, and Limestone’s Maria Morales finished in 10th at 226.

Scores from the SAC Women’s Championship

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