Lady Flashes win Class I
Published 11:01 am Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Normally, losing a big lead and a state championship would be an experience that haunts an athlete forever.
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Not Anna Fletcher. She was perfectly happy to go 1-for-2.
Fletcher, the leader entering the final round of the MHSAA Class I Girls Golf Championship, saw her four-shot lead slip away Tuesday to Our Lady Academy’s Presley Baggett.
Fletcher, along teammates Laura Phillips and Beth Newman, still did well enough, however, to lead St. Aloysius to its second consecutive team championship.
Fletcher shot an 81 in the second round and finished as the runner-up with a two-day total of 157. Phillips was third with 161 as St. Al cruised to the team title by 33 strokes over OLA. Newman shot 195 over the two days, but only each team’s top two scores count toward the team total.
“It was disappointing having a four-shot lead, but our team won, so I’m happy about that. That’s all that really matters to me, is that our team did good,” Fletcher said. “Hopefully we can do it again next year. It’s fun. It’s something you look forward to all season, just playing in state again to defend that title.”
St. Al won by 12 shots over St. Patrick for its first state championship last year, but was in command from the beginning this time on its home course at Clear Creek Golf Course.
The Lady Flashes led OLA by 20 shots after one round, then dropped the hammer with impressive performances by Fletcher and Phillips in Tuesday’s final round.
Phillips’ 80 was the second-lowest round Tuesday, while Fletcher and Sumrall’s Tristian Cooley both shot 81.
Baggett was the only player to break 80 on a course left muddy and soggy by heavy rain and thunderstorms on Monday.
“We played the back nine first, which is what we wanted to do because it’s harder. So we knew they’d improve throughout the day,” St. Al coach Liz Fletcher said. “I told them they were playing a different course than yesterday. (Monday) was hot, dry, very dusty and windy. Today was soggy, so the ball was going to stick. It wasn’t going to roll. They had to take all that into effect.”
Anna Fletcher’s solid performance, and the fact the Lady Flashes still won the team title, made losing out on the individual championship easier to take, she said.
So did Baggett’s dominant effort.
Last year’s runner-up shot an 80 in Monday’s first round and started Tuesday four shots behind Fletcher. Baggett shot a 74 in the second round to not only make up the difference, but win going away. She ended up with a two-day total of 154, three shots better than Fletcher.
“I played good for me. It was one of the lowest scores I’ve ever had out here. She was just on her game today, Presley was,” Anna Fletcher said. “It wasn’t that I played bad. It was just that she played really good.”
Anna Fletcher -— as well as Phillips and Newman — aren’t done chasing championships yet. All three are juniors and will be back next season to go for a three-peat.
“It’s a great feeling because they started the team, these three girls, in eighth grade. They were runner-ups and then they won last year. I’m very excited for them,” Liz Fletcher said. “They’ve so much improved every year.”