The Troup County girls golf team had quite the showing at the area tournament as they finished second to earn a spot at the state tournament. It was a fantastic finish for the Tigers who had two of the five golfers come into the season with little to no golfing experience whatsoever.
“We had some new golfers so to finish second is a joy to us,” said head golf coach Sgt. Kevin Jefferson. “At one point, we were wondering if we were even going to place.”
Those two players are not the only ones that lack experience, Jefferson is also in his first year as the coach of the golf team. Luckily, he has assistant coach Paul Hammock to help get him accumulated to the team.
“I wanted to have coach Hammock with me because he’s been with the girls longer,” Jefferson said. “This is his second year.”
Troup eked out the second-place finish with a one-point lead over Bainbridge. The top three finishers from the area tournament earn a spot at state. This was a monumental achievement for the program as they lost two of their more experienced golfers before the season started.
One of the major reasons for this achievement was the play of Sarah Blanks, who is the best golfer on the team.
“Sarah had a lot to do with [finishing second],” Hammock said. “Sarah was playing pretty well, and everybody finding out she was playing well helped them play better.”
“I was pretty proud of myself,” Blanks said. “I’m just glad that I was able to put up a good score to help our team to come in second.”
Blanks ended up having the fourth best individual round from the girls’ side of the area tournament. This is Blanks fifth year on the team and has been to state every single year she was a member of the varsity squad, so it was important to get back with her final golf journey coming to an end in a few weeks.
“It’s been really important to me because I want my senior year to be the best year,” Blanks said. “Being able to continue on all four years has been special.”
Skyler Yates has been on the team with Blanks since they were in eighth grade. Yates is also one of the team’s most talented golfers and has taken on a leadership role for the less experienced golfers. Yates and Blanks confidence spread throughout the team while they were playing in the area tournament.
“Just from me and Sarah playing in the area and state last year, we thought we had [the ability to go to state],” Yates said. “We didn’t know we could come in second, but we were confident we could make it to state.”
The team does not have specific goals in mind for state. If the cards fall right and everybody brings their A-game, the coaches believe the team has enough juice to finish top five and even push for one of the top three positions. The coaches are not putting any pressure on the girls to go out there and reach certain goals, it will be all about having fun and enjoying the experience.
“I just hope we have a lot of fun, and I know we will,” Yates said. “We already made it to state so it will not be a big let down if we don’t win.”