Notre Dame golf team wins Class 1 state championship
Good and steady was more than enough for the Notre Dame Regional High School girls golf team at the Class 1 state tournament at Meadow Lake Acres Country Club in New Bloomfield, Missouri.
The Bulldogs, making their first appearance ever at the state meet as a team, came away with the two biggest prizes Tuesday: Junior Sarah Bell shot her second straight 73 to claim the state medalist honor by eight strokes, and Notre Dame shot just one stroke higher than its first-day total to claim the team state championship by a whopping 40 strokes.
Led by Bell's 146 total, Notre Dame boasted three of the top six finishers in the 92-player field. Like Bell, junior Allison Bray collected her third-all-state honor by tying for third with a 156 total, while freshman Taryn Overstreet finished two strokes back at 158 in sixth place.
Junior Olivia Williams rounded out the Bulldogs' score each day, shooting a personal-best 91 on Monday and 98 on Tuesday to finish tied for 38th at 189.
"It's been my dream since freshman year, and I'm so happy," Bell said. "But I care more about our team winning than me individually. I'm really happy, but I'm more proud of my team than even myself."
Bell, who had finished third and fifth in her previous two trips to the state tournament, posted the low score each day.
She did so on Monday despite starting with a three-putt bogey on her first hole.
"I was nervous on the first hole yesterday, but I wasn't like crazy nervous, but I was like a little nervous," said Bell, who added that the greens had a lot of undulation.
She followed the bogey with par golf over the next 17 holes, with three birdies offsetting a bogey and a double bogey.
Bray also steadied herself after hitting a shot out of bounds on the first hole and taking double bogey.
"I think they all handled it pretty well," Moore said. "I think they all were a little nervous on the first tee on the first day, but I think once they settled in they kind of got in a groove from there. I think when the scores came in after the first day they realized they had a pretty comfortable lead and it helped to relax them, especially for today, to just be able to go out there and not worry and know it was all kind of under their control."
The Bulldogs, who shot a 324 on the first day, took a 24-stroke lead into the second round over John Burroughs, which had finished 19 strokes behind Notre Dame at the sectional meet a week earlier and expected to be among their chief competition at state.
The Bulldogs extended the lead in the second round despite windier condition.
"I actually thought the course was playing a little harder," Moore said. "I think that really spoke well for them. Olivia Williams, who was our No. 5 for most of the year, really stepped up and played big for us at state."
Bell took a four-stroke lead over Ste. Genevieve's Madison DeRousse and doubled the lead in the wind. DeRousse matched her first-round 77 to finish second at 154.
Bell said she felt more nervous with the lead at the start of the second round than she had the first day.
"It was nerve-racking, then after the first couple of holes I was totally fine," Bell said.
She parred the first hole and covered the front nine in 1-over 37, then shot even par on the back. She had two birdies and three bogeys in her round.
"She may be nervous on the course, but it's hard to tell with her," Moore said. "She's about as even-keel as it comes on the course, I never know if she's playing well or bad when I walk up to her on the course. She'll give you the same expression and same tone of voice, whether she just made a bogey or just made a birdie. I think that mentality and that way that she plays only helps her, and probably led her to be state champ this year."
Bray bettered her first-day score by four strokes with a second-round 76, which tied her with 2015 state champion India Gaume of Pembroke Hill and Serene Berrey of Father Tolton Regional Catholic. Bray had finished eighth as a freshman and sixth as a sophomore.
"After that first hole, she really settled down and played great golf for the next 35 holes," Moore said about Bray.
Overstreet also bettered her first-round score, trimming two shots with her second-round 78.
Bell, Overstreet and Bray had finished 1-2-3 in the sectional meet last week.
"Judging by the scores at the district and the sectionals and knowing what my girls had done all year, I certainly felt that was a distinct possibility going in, that those three would be in the top five to 10 for sure, with a chance with one of them coming out on top at state," Moore said. "They've all been very consistent all year and posted low scores."
The state crown capped an unbeaten season for the Bulldogs.
"I'm so proud of them," Bell said. "I feel like our team deserves this because we have worked really, really hard to get the state title."
Class 1 state tournament
at Meadow Lake Acres, New Bloomfield
Team -- 1. Notre Dame 324-326--649, 2. John Burroughs 348-340--689, 3. Pembroke Hill 348-354--702
Notre Dame -- 1. Sarah Bell 73-73--146, t-3. Allison Bray 80-76--156, 6. Taryn Overstreet 80-78--158, t-38. Olivia Williams 91-98--189, 77. Haley Taylor 105-110--215