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2A-4 girls golf: Dunedin's Knox keeps nerves in check, reaches state

TRINITY — Justine Knox's hands were shaking so violently as she lined up a 2-foot putt on the final hole at the 2A-4 region tournament that her putter fell out of her grasp and onto the green.

After navigating the windy conditions at Heritage Springs to post even par through 17 holes, Knox knew par on the last hole could potentially wrap up her first state tournament appearance.

For a moment, the pressure overcame her.

Then Knox backed off her ball, composed herself and sank the short, downhill putt to finish off an even-par 71 and qualify for next week's state tournament at Ocala Golf Club.

"It was pretty nerve-racking," Knox said.

Knox had, in her words, a "pretty boring round" after recording birdie, bogey and 16 pars. She tied with King's Kelsey Gibson for second overall.

After learning that both would advance to states, Knox and Gibson decided to cut the ribbons for second and third place in half and each take a half rather than going to a playoff to determine the second-place finisher.

"Kelsey and I are really good friends," Knox said, scissors in hand. "We've been friends for a long time."

Durant's Madison Opfer finished as the region champion after firing 4-under 67. Durant was second overall with a team score of 328.

Mitchell (322), behind Megan Van Etten's 2-over 73 and Rebecca Van Etten's 3-over 74, won the team title by six strokes over Durant.

East Lake took fourth place, nine strokes behind third-place Plant (334), after coming into the clubhouse at 343. The Eagles' Jordan Patton shot 76 to finish in a tie for seventh. Hannah Espy, Brittany Gail and Lauren Coe each posted 89.

Palm Harbor University (385) was seventh. The Hurricanes' Jasmine Wade (72) was 1-over and fourth overall but missed qualifying by a stroke.

Team: Mitchell 322, Durant 328, Plant 334, East Lake 343, Wharton 357, Riverview 378, Palm Harbor U. 385, Gaither 412, King 421

Individuals: Opfer (Dur) 67, Gibson (King) 71, Knox (Dun) 71, Wade (PHU) 72, M. Van Etten (Mit) 73, R. Van Etten (Mit) 74, Patton (EL) 76, Wardzinski (Dur) 76, Eisph (Pla) 77, Hwang (Wha) 77, Rolfe (EB) 77, Benkowski (Pla) 79, George (PC) 79, McQuilken (Riv) 79, Hendee (Pla) 83, Henning (PHU) 83

2A-4 girls golf: Dunedin's Knox keeps nerves in check, reaches state 10/27/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 11:32pm]
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