FUQUAY-VARINA — Birds could be heard squaking, tennis players were grunting with exertion, and a car alarm was blaring in the parking lot as the top Tri-9 girls golfers were finishing their round at the Bentwinds Golf and Country Club on Wednesday.
But those sounds all stopped, even the car alarm, when Athens Drive senior Sarah Bae and Lee County freshman Muk Shoomee stepped onto the 9th green with the season medalist crown on the line.
Shoomee owned a one-stroke lead on the day, while Bae, unknown to her, still had a one-stroke edge for the season.
Shoomee (36) pitched a great shot off the fringe using a seven iron, and then tapped in for a par. Bae came close to sinking a 20-foot birdie putt, but settled for a par as well, capturing her first ever regular season medalist title with a one-over par 37.
Bae’s scoring average for the year, 35.6, edged Shoomee (35.8) by just two-tenths of a stroke.
Both Bae and Shoomee said they were looking forward to the upcoming Eastern Regionals, which will be played Oct. 22 at Pine Hollow Golf Course in Clayton, and ultimately the state championships (Oct. 29-30 at Pinehurst No. 6).
Bae has won the Regionals the past three years and was part of two team state champions, but is looking for her first individual state title this year.
Green Hope (126 strokes) edged Middle Creek (127) and Holly Springs (129) at Bentwinds, but easily captured the regular-season title. The Falcons also achieved a season-long goal, as five of their golfers, including Maddie Lee, Maddie MacClurg, Sophie Riegel, Meaghan Symonds and Amanda Yanonni, made the all-conference team.
“These girls peaked at the right time and had the confidence to come through,” said Green Hope coach Kathy Bounds. “They’re going to get to bask in the glow of this accomplishment and then it will be time to get ready for regionals. I really think we have the best team in the state.”
Holly Springs’ Leigha Holt (39), Fuquay-Varina’s Catherine Ashworth (40) and Middle Creek’s Betsy Dohrer (40) also played well at Bentwinds.
“The scoring was a little higher today than average, but I think the girls enjoyed finishing the year at a course like Bentwinds,” said F-V coach Chris Jones. “It’s a great course to prepare them for the upcoming events like the regionals.”
The 18-hole Tri-9 tournament will be played at Sanford Golf Course on Monday, and then it’s on to the Regional championships, which will include teams from the Cap-8 and the Greater Neuse River conferences.
The top four teams at the regionals will qualify for the state championships, along with the 14 best individual golfers.