EMPORIA, Kan.—It’s hard enough to shoot two strokes below a front nine score on the back nine, let alone when the front nine score is a tournament-best 38. But that’s exactly what St. Thomas Aquinas’ Jordan Chael did Monday at the 5A state girls’ golf championship.
Chael is now a state champion after shooting 74 at Emporia Municipal. She beat teammate and state runner-up Baile Winslow by four strokes. Goddard Eisenhower’s Makena Mucciaccio took third with a score of 82.
Chael said this year has been up and down, as she claimed to think too much while on the course, but Monday she got out of her own way and played like a champion.
“I’ve fought some mental issues on the course,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve gotten in my own way a lot. I had a couple rough days that really got to me and fought my putter all season. I just went out and played golf. I didn’t think too much.”
She hit almost every green on the front nine and that proved to be more than helpful as her putts weren’t falling as she had planned.
“I think I had 19 putts on the front nine,” said Chael. “It was really bad. I made a couple I didn’t expect to make and made a couple five and six-footers that I didn’t expect to make.”
Chael took third place at the state tournament in 2011with an 84 at Smoky Hills Country Club in Hays behind teammate and 2011 champion Winslow. Chael and Winslow led the Lady Saints to a team title, exactly as the duo did in 2011.
The only difference between 2011 and 2012 is that Chael is the champion and Winslow took second place. The two set the tone for the rest of the squad en route to a dominating team performance. Teammate Ashley Root took 7th for Aquinas with an 87.
Eisenhower’s Mucciaccio shot 44 on the front nine and cut an incredible six strokes on the back nine to wrap up the third place spot. Shawnee Mission South’s Hannah Sears and Bishop Carroll’s Carly Hill took fourth and fifth, respectively.
Carroll took home the third place trophy behind cross-town rival Kapaun Mt. Carmel. Kapaun’s Katie Wells led her team with an 87 as the Lady Crusader finished with a team score of 367, 31 strokes behind Aquinas, a team that finished with a tournament-best 336.
Carroll took home a trophy with a team score of 372. Shawnee Heights beat Eisenhower by one stroke for the fourth place spot with 386. Eisenhower finished in fifth with 387.