Lady Panthers finish second
Finish is highest in school history
MOUNTAIN HOME — Led by individual medalist Sydnie Gamble’s 1-over-par 145, the Greenwood Lady Bulldogs ran to the Class 6A State Girls golf championship Tuesday, defeating the Siloam Springs Lady Panthers by 21 strokes at Big Creek Golf & Country Club.
Siloam Springs senior Brinkley Beever shot 157 (81-76) for second place individually, and Mountain Home’s Kenzie Collins shot 170 (82-88) to round out the top three advancing to the Overall State Tournament at Pleasant Valley in Little Rock, which will be held on Oct. 12.
Siloam Springs coach Michael Robertson was pleased with his team’s state runner-up finish — the highest for the girls program in school history.
“Our girls came over to win,” he said. “That was the expectation and what they hoped for. I’m real proud of them. We’ve
been real close to this several times now, and second is actually the best we’ve ever done. Hats off to Greenwood. We’ve had some battles with them the past couple years. For the season, we were one stroke different. We felt coming into today we had a good shot, but they played really well today. They had been in pressure situations a few times, and they played like it.”
Gamble followed her first-round 73 with an even-par 72 on Tuesday, while teammates Jordyn Lane and Ella Austin shot 183 and 199, respectively, over 36 holes. Austin shot 94 after carding a 105 on Monday.
“I actually told everybody after the round yesterday that we were done talking about golf,” Gamble said. “We didn’t have a very big lead, so I didn’t want us to stress over it. We decided to have fun and wait to think about golf the next day. Before we teed off, I wrote Ella a note and it said ‘good thoughts lead to good shots.’ She said that’s what really helped her confidence and kept her positive throughout the round today.”
Gamble also was the state medalist her freshman season, but placed second behind Jonesboro’s
Mary Claire Meredith the past two seasons.
Greenwood’s lead over second-place Siloam Springs was only four strokes after the first day, but the Lady Bulldogs ended up finishing 21 strokes (527-548) ahead of the Lady Panthers. The host Mountain Home team was third at 575, Searcy was fourth at 583, while Benton took fifth at 646.
The top eight individuals were named all-state. Mountain Home’s Sydney Czanstkowski shot 173
(85-88) for fourth, while Greenwood’s Lane was fifth at 183, Siloam Springs junior Kaitlyn Robinson and Searcy’s Lauren Bowles were tied for sixth at 189, and Searcy’s Ellen Grace Adams was eighth at 191.
Also for the Lady Panthers, junior McKenzie Blanchard added a 210 (105-105) and junior Jaelee Snyder fired a 213 (101112). Siloam Springs junior Kendall McCormick shot 130 on the first day, and Makenna Thomas placed in the fifth spot on the second day and shot a 101.
“Really proud of our girls,” Robertson said. “Obviously they came over to win it all. Thats what they worked hard for and that was their goal. And so no doubt they are disappointed that we came up a little short but as I told them, do not lose sight of how big what they accomplished is. They did something that no other girls golf team has been able to do and nobody can take that from them.”
The Lady Panthers will lose their senior Beever, but not before she plays in the overall for the second time.
“Looking forward to seeing Brinkley compete on Oct. 12 at the Overall Championship,” Robertson said. “It is a great event with super-talented kids. It is a college-level event and such an honor. She will be the first girl we have had to qualify twice. She is playing well right now and I expect her to have a great showing.
“As I have said when all of our great players have moved on…its hard to replace them. Brinkley will be missed. She led by example, always here, always working hard and it carried over to the course. She will leave as our most decorated girls player ever.”
The rest of the Lady Panthers all return for another season.
“Looking ahead there is a lot to be excited about,” Robertson said. “I really like the group we have returning. They will probably be one of the most experienced groups we have had returning. Kaitlyn showed on day one what she is capable of and I expect her to only get better. McKenzie has been a great player for us since she came in as a freshman. She had some great rounds this season and I expect her to make a jump next season. Really proud of Jaelee. She had one of the biggest singleseason improvements we have ever had and played great for us down the stretch. Kendall is going to work hard this off-season and will be another one we will count on next season. Makenna gained great experience this season. She showed on day two that she has a lot of natural ability and can be a great high school player. We also have some younger girls who are working hard to be contributors next season.”
The Siloam Springs girls golf team finished as state runner-up Tuesday at the Class 6A state girls golf tournament at Big Creek Golf and Country Club in Mountain Home. It’s the highest the Lady Panthers have ever finished in a state golf tournament. Pictured, from left, are team members junior Jaelee Snyder, junior Kendall McCormick, junior McKenzie Blanchard, senior Brinkley Beever, freshman Makenna Thomas and junior Kaitlyn Robinson.