Two months ago Lauren Lightfritz, a rising senior at Lambert High School and commit to Mercer University, led the Longhorns to their third consecutive state championship.
Still, Lightfritz fell a slot short of medalist honors at state, so as far as she was concerned there was still plenty of work to do. Evidently she has kept the momentum going.
Lightfritz shot 4-under par Wednesday, June 24, at the Georgia State Golf Association Georgia Girl’s Championship at Coosa Country Club in Rome. She earned top medalist honors, beating out Milton’s Payton Schanen by two strokes.
She shot 69 and 70 in the first two rounds, and was as low as 7-under when she made the turn on the final day. A score of 39 on the final nine holes prevented her from breaking the tournament’s all-time record (5-under par), since the GSGA was formed in 1924. It was her first time winning the championship in five years of competing—her closest finish was fourth last season—and the lowest tournament score of her young career.
“It’s an honor to win this tournament. There are so many great names that have been on that trophy. Hard work has paid off and it feels great,” Lightfritz said.
When asked if she knew she was approaching the tournament record, Lightfritz said she “had no idea. I was pretty disappointed when I found out at the end, but it was awesome that I almost broke it. The tournament director came and told me after. I really didn’t know before that.”
Lightfritz said slight inaccuracies off the tee forced her to make difficult punch shots from under trees and get up and down multiple times.
“I don’t know how many times I had to get up and down. Maybe five each day? My driver was just a little off,” Lightfritz said. “The course was in great shape, and it’s straight ahead, but the holes were tight. It’s a really narrow course.”
She also admitted to being slightly nervous on the first tee.
“I’m always nervous on the first tee, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Honestly, I just have to breath and think good thoughts and stuff like that,” Lightfritz said.
With the victory, Lightfritz, along with Schanen, Melanie Talbott (Woodstock) and Alissa Yang (Norcross) received invitations to represent Georgia in the Georgia-South Carolina Girl’s Junior Challenge, which will be held at Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken, S.C., next month.
Lightfritz will also prepare for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Qualifier for Georgia, which will be held July 20 at Laurel Springs, Lambert’s home course, in Suwanee.
“I have a lot of confidence in my game right now,” Lightfritz said. “I’ve won five times this year. With the support of my coaches and family, they all want me to stay mentally strong, but I feel good going through the rest of the year.”