- Special Sections
- Public Notices
BOWLING GREEN — One era came to an end Wednesday in the Leachman Buick-GMC-Cadillac/KHSAA Girls’ State Golf Championship at Bowling Green Country Club, while another was just beginning.
North Hardin senior Lydia Gumm, who has had a long and distinguished high school career, fired a 2-over-par 74 for a two-day total of 146 – four shots behind Calloway County’s Anna Hack. She finished second at the state tournament for a fourth time.
Bowling Green has been the site of her most gut-wrenching moments. In the 2006 state tournament, Russellville junior Nikki Koller, who was tied with Gumm for the individual lead, hit her second shot on the 304-yard par-4 ninth hole within 2 feet of the cup and made birdie to win the championship. She also was on the losing end in battles with Caldwell County’s Emma Talley.
So how fitting was it that Gumm, who hadn’t caught a break the final 10 holes, had her birdie attempt roll around the cup and out? She tapped in for a par.
“That’s exactly what I thought,” said Gumm, who made 10 consecutive State appearances, playing 342 holes in the tournament. “That’s my day in a nutshell. I never got anything going.”
On a day when the area’s most decorated player saw her career come to a close, the Elizabethtown Lady Panthers demonstrated where the future of area girls’ golf resides. They finished seventh with a two-day team score of 695 despite this being the first State trip for all five players.
Elizabethtown’s top two scorers – Lauren Hartlage and Rebecca Black – are freshmen. Seventh-grader Sarah Hinton had her best performance of the year at State. Although they are losing seniors Ashley Hartlage and Mary-Chapin Snow, the Lady Panthers have eighth-grader Sarah Beth Hundley, who played in last year’s 3rd Region Tournament, as well as sophomores Mackenzie Snow and Madeline Vittitow and freshman Peyton Lothery returning.
“We did better than what people thought,” Lauren Hartlage said. “We were ranked ninth coming into the state tournament. Seventh is a pretty good starting point. It’s a good ending to this season and a good starting point to do even better next season. I think this motivates us a lot.”
Elizabethtown coach Kim Hartlage said prior to the state tournament she hoped for a top-five finish. The Lady Panthers weren’t far off that, finishing eight shots out of fifth.
“It gives them a lot of fire,” Kim Hartlage said. “They know what to do now to win a state championship. They are not that far off. I think they will be very driven. I think they saw yesterday they could compete with the top teams in the state.”
Lauren Hartlage carded a 79 to finish in 19th place with a 159, while Black, who placed 37th, had an 84 to end up with a 186. Ashley Hartlage had a 183, Hinton a 199 and Snow a 207.
But it was more than just scores. After she opened the tournament with a 99, Hinton shaved 10 strokes off her second-day score. Her 89 was her best round in her high school career.
“I was putting and chipping better, more so on the frontside,” Hinton said. “It really makes it fun. It makes the round more enjoyable. I think I want to practice a lot more. This has been amazing.”
Snow struggled with the conditions the first day, but she bounced back with a 96 – 15 strokes better than her opening round. Snow was more proud of what the team accomplished.
“It’s the best feeling,” she said. “After a long season, we ended the season on a great note. I think I played my best today and it was my last tournament. It feels weird saying that. It hasn’t sunk in, but I’m really happy with it.”
Black said the Lady Panthers will miss their seniors, but they want to make this an annual trip.
“It’s really good to finish like this considering we had never played in a state tournament,” Black said. “Ashley and Mary-Chapin meant a lot to the team. We have a lot of work to do to replace them. We’re proud of what we accomplished, but we have to come back the next three years.”
For Gumm, though, this was the end. In 10 state tournament appearances, she made the cut nine times. The only time she didn’t was 2004 when she played with a pulled muscle on her side and missed the cut by one stroke. After coming in 28th place in 2003, Gumm finished no worse than 11th the last eight years.
Gumm opened her day with a bogey, but quickly recovered with birdies on two and four. But she had bogeys on five and eight sandwiched around a birdie on six. Making the turn, Gumm was even for the tournament. On the back nine, Gumm had eight pars and a double bogey on the 15th hole.
“It was frustrating,” Gumm said. “I still felt good. I went low on the back nine yesterday. But I missed too many fairways. When I hit fairways, I hit it close and was able to score well. I didn’t hit fairways and I didn’t make any putts. I had some birdie opportunities. I didn’t make putts like I did yesterday. Frustrating is a good way to describe it.”
Chuck Jonescan be reached at (270) 505-1759 or email@example.com.