Moon, Gaunt win

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - TIM COOPER

El­iz­a­beth Moon of For­rest City held off a late charge by Bap­tist Prep’s Kate­lyn Dun­stan to win the Arkansas over­all state girls’ golf cham­pi­onship by three strokes Thurs­day. On the boys’ side, Cabot’s Con­nor Gaunt edged Fayetteville’s Fisher Vol­len­dorf to re­peat as over­all cham­pion.

On her fourth at­tempt at an Over­all ti­tle, El­iz­a­beth Moon eclipsed the field.

Moon, a se­nior from For­rest City, fired a 2-un­der 70 Thurs­day at Pleas­ant Val­ley Coun­try Club in Lit­tle Rock to win the girls Over­all tour­na­ment by three strokes.

Thanks to an early run of birdies and a steady put­ter, Moon shined the bright­est on a sunny af­ter­noon in Lit­tle Rock. Bap­tist Prep se­nior Kate­lyn Dun­stan turned in a 1-over 73 to fin­ish as the run­ner-up.

“It is my last year and it’s amaz­ing that I pulled off this win,” Moon said. “I’ve al­ways wanted to win the Over­all and I’ve never been able to do that.”

That is un­til Thurs­day. As a ju­nior, Moon was run­ner-up in 2016. She fin­ished in a four-way tie for sec­ond as a sopho­more in 2015 and in a three-way tie for third as a fresh­man in 2014. On Thurs­day, Moon birdied Nos. 2, 3 and 4 on the 6,000-yard course and then ad­mit­ted to play­ing con­ser­va­tive the rest of the way.

Like her game, her plan was nearly flaw­less.

“I putted re­ally well to­day,” Moon said. “That’s what helped me the most. I played re­ally well on the front nine and just kind of grinded it out on the back nine.

“On the back nine, I was just try­ing to not mess up and elim­i­nate as many mis­takes as I could. All I wanted to do was play par golf.”

Af­ter post­ing a 2-un­der 34 on the front nine, Moon had two bo­geys and two birdies on the back nine. Her fi­nal birdie came on No. 18, a 430-yard par 5.

No one played the fi­nal nine holes bet­ter than Dun­stan, whose 3-un­der 33 on the back nine was three shots bet­ter than any­one else in the 21-player field.

Dun­stan shot a 4-over 40 on the first nine holes, but she turned her game around in time to not only claim the run­ner-up spot but to also turn in a bet­ter score than her sis­ter, sopho­more Bai­ley Dun­stan (39-40—79)

“I wasn’t mak­ing any­thing,” Kate­lyn Dun­stan said. “But I was mo­ti­vated enough to beat my sis­ter. I knew she was go­ing to post a good num­ber.

Dun­stan, who will con­tinue her golf ca­reer next sea­son at Belmont Univer­sity in Nash­ville, Tenn., also was play­ing in her fourth Over­all. Her pre­vi­ous best score in the event was a 5-over 77, which she shot as a sopho­more.

Fort Smith South­side se­nior Syd­ney Staton fin­ished third with a 2-over 74. Two-time de­fend­ing Over­all cham­pion Casey Ott of Con­way strug­gled through the first nine holes with a 4-over 40 and fin­ished at 5-over 77.

De­spite win­ning the Over­all ti­tle, Moon still had one re­gret about the Pleas­ant Val­ley course — she has never been able to shoot any bet­ter than a bo­gey on No. 16, a 346-yard par 4.

“On 16, I hit two good shots and still bo­geyed it,” Moon said. “I never parred that hole in the last four years. I think that’s one to re­mem­ber. … I want to go back out there one more time just to make par.”

Gaunt

Moon

Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette/THOMAS METTHE

For­rest City’s El­iz­a­beth Moon tees off on the fourth hole dur­ing the Girls High School Over­all Cham­pi­onship on Thurs­day at Pleas­ant Val­ley Coun­try Club in Lit­tle Rock. Moon shot a 2-un­der 70 to win the cham­pi­onship by three strokes over Bap­tist Prep’s Kate­lyn Dun­stan.

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