Watson, Washburn and Hill Qualify for NJCAA National Tournament

Watson, Washburn and Hill Qualify for NJCAA National Tournament

Three Sandhills Community College golfers have qualified for the NJCAA Women's Golf National Championship to be held at Chateau Elan Golf Club in Braselton, Georgia on May 15-18.

Parker Watson of the Lady Flyers finished in third place individually at the Region X tournament held at Southern Pines Country Club on Saturday and Sunday with scores of 85-82-167. Also punching their tickets to Georgia from Coach Herb Pike's squad with top 10 finishes were Danielle Washburn who came in fourth after rounds of 84-87-171 and Amanda Hill who posted scores of 88-89-177 to finish in seventh place. Tala Locklear, the Flyers fourth player, shot 103-102-205.
 
Spartanburg Methodist College won the right to represent Region X as a team at the national tournament by winning the team competition by 39 strokes over the Lady Flyers. SMC's title snaps a streak of four straight Region X titles by Sandhills.
 

Megan Thompson of SMC earned medalist honors after rounds of 80-85-165. She also earned All-Region X recognition along with teammates Shannon Heerey and Brooke Hutto, as well as Watson and Washburn of the Lady Flyers.

The two complete teams, plus golfers from Richard Bland College and Surry CC made up the field of 12 golfers at the Donald Ross layout set up at 5,785 yards, Par 72.  Spartanburg Methodist had defeated the Lady Flyers at the Region X Fall Championship last November as well as at the Whispering Pines Lady's Invitational in February.
 
Through the first 18 holes on Saturday the Pioneers had a commanding lead of 27 strokes. But playing in the first threesome on Sunday, Watson had put herself in the thick of the competition for medalist honors by going to the par five 15th hole at four over par for the day.
 

"I was thinking you can do this," the freshman by way of Smithfield Selma High School said afterward. "I just think I put too much pressure on myself trying to be perfect. That's not how you play golf. You have to relax."

 Watson's drive went into some trees to the right and she had to punch the ball back onto the fairway. A double bogey there, the miss of a short birdie putt on 16 and another double bogey after a huge drive on 18 left her two strokes short of sharing medalist honors with Thompson. 
 

"That was an excellent performance by Parker," Pike said. "She now knows she is capable of shooting in the seventies any time she goes out there."

 In the next group, Washburn also encountered some misadventures at the 15th after playing even par golf on the first five holes of the back nine to make up some ground on the leaders. The freshman from Lynchburg, Va. also drove her ball to the right and had to punch the ball back into the fairway. Then her third shot ended up in a washed out area on the right side of the raised green with a root between her club and the ball.
 

"I hit it twice and it rolled back to me before I got it out," she said. "It was actually my fault because I could have asked for a drop. Then I chipped the ball in. I turned to everybody that was watching and said, 'well that's one way to make an eight'. You just have to laugh when things like that happen."

 Now the Lady Flyers have a month to get ready for the trip to Braselton which is located about 50 miles north of Atlanta.
 

"Spartanburg played well," Pike said. "I don't think we could have beaten them, but I think we should have done better than we did. But these girls are all freshmen and it's the first time they've played in a regional championship.

 

"We have some time to get ready for the nationals. We'll practice at least four times a week and try to find a golf course here similar to Chateau Elan and play there as many times as we can."

 Watson is looking forward to the challenge of the 72-hole event.
 

"I think it's going to be a wonderful experience," she said. "I've never played four days straight, but I'm excited. I hear it's a wonderful golf course."

 

Team scores - 1.Spartanburg Methodist 333-348-681; 2. Sandhills CC 360-360-720.

Individual scores – 1. Thompson 80-85-165 (SMC), 2. Heerey (SMC) 81-85-166, 3. Watson (SCC) 85-82-167, 4. Washburn (SCC) 84-87-171, 5. Hutto (SMC) 89-85-174, 6. Paige Johnson (SMC) 83-93-176, 7. Hill (SCC) 88-89-177, 8. Anna Carole Cole (RB) 90-99-189, 9. Kenedi Byard (RB) 101-92-193, 10. Alexis Huffman (Surry) 93-105-198, 11. Tala Locklear (SCC) 103-102-205, 12. Savannah Porter (RB) 120-119-239.