Statesboro has its first ever individual state champion in girls golf as Sara Jane Bowers claimed victory in a sudden-death playoff Monday at Waynesboro Country Club in the Class AAAA championships.
Bowers fired a 5-over 77 during the day to lead the Lady Blue Devils to a 10th place finish in the team competition.
As the day wore on, Bowers’ score remained atop the individual leaderboard. By the time all teams had finished, Bowers was thrown into a three-way playoff.
“I was really nervous,” Bowers said. “I had never been in a situation like that before.”
After the first playoff hole, only Bowers and Cairo’s Kayla Wilbourn remained.
The pair matched scores over the next two holes before Bowers rolled in an eight-foot par putt on the fourth hole. Wilbourn needed only a three-footer to extend play, but couldn’t sink her putt.
“I couldn’t even watch (Wilbourn’s putt),” Bowers said. “I’ve played with Kayla a lot and we know each other well. It’s tough to go up against someone like that, but it was so great to know that I won.”
Up at Goshen Plantation in Augusta, the Portal girls finished fifth in the Class A Public team competition.
The Lady Panthers, in just their second year of competition, never let their inexperience get in the way of their goals.
Despite the lofty final placing, Portal still won’t be content moving forward.
“It’s great that we’re coming along with the program, but today wasn’t showing the best that we can play,” Portal coach Jay Reddick said. “Our girls haven’t seen too many hilly courses like we played on today and our scores showed it.
“We just need to take that as a learning experience. Hopefully everyone will be back next season. It’s going to take a lot of practice and lessons to get to the top of the state where we want to be.”
Faith Reddick and Caitlyn Girardeau were the low scorers that contributed to the team total.
Also competing in Augusta were the Statesboro boys, who played the Class AAAA championship at Westlake Country Club.
Facing a course set up to reward ambitious shot-making, the Devils played well enough to finish 13th in the state with a score of 55-over as perennial power Marist claimed the title with a showing of 2-over par.
Trevor Dailey and Clay Cribbs led the Devils with a pair of 83s while T.J. Costlow fired an 87 and was followed by Hunter Finch (90) and Jordan Woody (94).
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.