The lip of the hole cups at Walnut Creek Country Club were not very welcoming to Neuse Charter School golf standout Makenna Hammer in the Oct. 20 1A/2A east regional championships.
Hammer had five putts lip out in her round, but she still found a way to card the tournament’s second-best score, an 86 and regional runner-up honors.
The performance topped a solid day for Johnston County entries in the 1A/2A and 3A regionals as seven golfers from the county qualified for the 36-hole state championships starting Monday and continuing Tuesday.
Each of the four 3A schools advanced one golfer each from the eastern regional at Carolina National Golf Club. South Johnston’s Sydney Wheeless led that group with a round of 85. She will be joined in the 3A state championship field at Longleaf Golf and Country Club by Smithfield-Selma’s Parker Watson, Corinth Holders’ Peyton Labonte and Cleveland’s Tabby Herzig.
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Wheeless is the first South Johnston girls golfer to ever qualify for the state championships. She carded a 39 on the back nine, the lowest nine-hole total of the season.
“She really played well, especially considering she had one really tough hole,” said South Johnston coach Daniel Benson. “She made a 10, but she didn’t let it throw off the rest of her round.”
Wheeless was tied for fourth individually, while Watson (91) tied for ninth and Labonte took 12th with a 93. Cleveland’s Herzig finished at 102.
Union Pines took the regional team title with Fayetteville Terry Sanford and Lee County, second and third, respectively.
No other Johnston County players were within striking distance of a state bid at Carolina National. Lana Wang of Corinth Holders shot 109, six shots off of the 103 needed to advance. Cleveland’s Kelsie Baker had a 115.
Rosewood’s Lindsey Burton was third at 87. Seventeen individual players from the regional advanced to the state tournament, set for the Foxfire Resort, including North Johnston’s Kayla Durham and Logan Capps. Durham finished 24th in the regional with a 106. Capps tied for 25th at 108.