Moon, Gaunt win
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.”
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.