Two strokes were all that separated Lambert’s girls golf team from its first state championship.
The Lady Longhorns turned in their second straight runner-up finish Monday at the Class AAAA state tournament, held at Bartram Trail Golf Course in Evans.
Lambert finished with a team score of 155 while Lakeside, Evans won the championship with a score of 153. The Lady Longhorns have finished in the top three at the event each year since beginning play in 2010.
“The girls are disappointed,” Lambert girls coach Joel Posey said. “They have very high expectations of what they want to accomplish and they worked really, really hard to achieve that goal. I think they’ll make learning tools out of it and be better from it.”
Lambert was led by freshman Michaela Owen (72), who finished one stroke back of the low medalist runner-up.
“She had a phenomenal day,” Posey said. “As a freshman, her first time in a state tournament, she shot an even par.”
Junior Sloan Shanahan, the Region 7-AAAA low medalist, shot an 83.
“She’s a tremendously gifted golfer,” Posey said.
“You know, sometimes even great golfers have off days. The girls seemed to be hitting the ball well, it was just one of those days where some of the putts didn’t seem to fall down.”
Posey said he was grateful to Laurel Springs Golf Club for giving the team a place to call its home course, and to his players for the way they conducted themselves during the season.
The Lady Longhorns are set to return their entire team next season.
“They’re class act golfers on the course,” the coach said.
Led by Drew Latini (75), South Forsyth’s boys finished tied for ninth place in the Class AAAA tournament with a score of 320 at Jones Creek Golf Club in Augusta. Marist won the team title with a score of 300.
“He played well,” South coach Matt Loveless said of Latini. “It was interesting looking at our season, he’s always been the most steady in terms of scoring. He’s typically mid to low 70s.”
Grant Young (79), Josh Hill (83), Myles Smith (83), Nick Mineo (85) and Drew Schmidt (95) also competed for the War Eagles.
Loveless said the team shot closer to the 300-mark last season at the event, but the War Eagles’ nerves, coupled with playing on a slower, bumpier surface than they normally practice on, held them back.
“I’m just really proud of this group,” Loveless said.
“They achieved a lot and worked very hard to get where they are. In order to take that next step and win a championship, we have to overcome the anxiety of failure.”
Lambert’s Garrett Marschke competed as an individual and shot a 73 — the best score of any boys golfer from a Forsyth County school. Marschke was five strokes behind low medalist Lee McCoy (68) of Habersham Central.
Each Class AAAAA state competition featured a golfer from West Forsyth, as junior Isabella Skinner shot a 73 in the girls tournament at West Lake Country Club in Augusta.
Senior Walker Slaton, West’s first boys golfer to reach the state tournament, was forced to withdraw from play at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Evans.
West boys coach Chris Roy said he didn’t want to risk further injury to Slaton, a member of the all-region 6-AAAAA team who will play for Truett-McConnell College next season.
“He hurt himself somewhere on the back nine and didn’t say anything at first, and then it kind of became noticeable that he was having trouble, especially walking,” Roy said.