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Reagan High golfers take NCHSAA 4A team and individual girls golf championships

The Reagan High (Pfafftown, N.C.) girls golf team celebrated their N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A state team title by gathering for a photo late Tuesday afternoon on a Pinehurst Golf Resort putting green.
 
One photo and two pieces of hardware the girls proudly held up represented the past, present, and future for the Forsyth County school. Past and present were contributions of four seniors that finished their careers playing in the 36-hole tournament: Sasha Hayes, who claimed the NCHSAA 4A state individual championship; Mary Slade White, who took home a Sportsmanship Trophy; Sarah Young; and Haylie Jane Paulin.
 
The future was represented by the freshman that Hayes had her arm around in the photo: Morgan Kethcum. She was second on the team, fifth in the tournament.
 
“We knew we could do it this year with the group of girls returning and the talented freshman that joined us,” Hayes said. “We all pulled through and worked hard all year. The timing was really good.”
Reagan golfer Morgan Ketchum drives on Day 1 of the NCHSAA 4A high school girls golf state championships played on Pinehurst number 3 on Oct. 22, 2018. Johnny Johnson for EducationNC
 
Reagan’s team total of 458 won by a comfortable six-shot margin over the runner-up. Pinecrest, the state power in nearby Southern Pines, totaled 464.
Reagan had posted a 234 team total the first day to trail by two Pinecrest’s leading score of 232. But on the second day, the Raiders shot 224 to make up eight shots on Pinecrest’s second straight 232.
 
Reagan’s three low scores were posted by Hayes (74-70, 144); Ketchum (74-80, 154); and White (86-74, 160). 
 
Pinecrest’s three low scores were Mara Hirtle, (74-76, 150); Jaclyn Kenzel (74-77, 151); and Lorin Wagler (84-79, 163).
 
Green Hope (Cary, N.C.) was third, Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.) and Jack Britt (Fayetteville, N.C.) tied for fourth, New Bern sixth, Laney (Wilmington, N.C.) seventh, Page (Greensboro, N.C.) and Ardrey Kell (Charlotte, N.C.) tied for eighth, Corinth Holders (Archer Lodge, N.C.) was 10th followed by Davie County (Mocksville, N.C.) and Apex.
 
Reagan golfer Mary Slade White drives on Day 1 of the NCHSAA 4A high school girls golf state championships played on Pinehurst number 3 on Oct. 22, 2018. Johnny Johnson for EducationNC

Hear from the top 10 individuals

 
1. Sasha Hayes, Reagan (4-over-par): “The course really played tough,” said the senior that is committed to Campbell. “My 74 (on) Monday was good, but I could have done better with my putting. My putting and my irons were both better Tuesday. I had four shots within one foot of the cup.”
 
Her 70 was the only even-par round posted in the 36-hole tournament. 
 
Hayes started the second day in a four-way tied for second, two shots off the lead, but she earned a six-shot victory with four second-day birdies.
 “I shot a 65 in the regionals, so I knew I had a low round in me,” she said of her 4A West regional title at the Mooresville Golf Club. “I just had to wait for it. I was calm and it happened. I’ve been playing a long time and my experience helped.”
 
2. Mara Hirtle, Pinecrest (10-over): “I left some putts out there, but I tried my best,” said Hirtle, who was grouped with Hayes. “I’m happy with how I kept myself together. Sasha really played well.”
 
3. Jaclyn Kenzel, Pinecrest (11-over): “The greens were tough and the pins in tough positions, and I left a few putts and chips out there,” she said. “I practiced my putting after my round (Monday) because I knew it would be tough (Tuesday). It helped a little. I would have liked to win, but third place is not bad.”
 
T4. Maria Atwood, Holly Springs (13-over): “I had a good round (Monday), but I got in too much trouble (Tuesday),” the freshman said. “I wasn’t able to recover enough. But it was very exciting to play in my first state tournament. My older friends in junior golf had told me about it.”
 
T4. Megan Kanaby, Cardinal Gibbons (13-over): “It was a really good field this year,” she said of dropping a spot from tying for third a year ago. “It was a tougher course this year, too. Everyone played their best.”
 
Pinecrest Mara Hirtle watches the ball on Day 1 of the NCHSAA 4A high school girls golf state championships played on Pinehurst number 3 on Oct. 22, 2018. Johnny Johnson for EducationNC
 
6. Morgan Ketchum, Reagan (14-over): “I just felt fortunate to be a part of this team and to win a state title,” she said. “The players and coaches worked hard all year. We all played well. It was a lot of fun to play my first state tournament on a great course. It was set up tough.”
 
7. Chloe Pittman, Hough (15-over): The junior from school in Cornelius was steady with a first-day score that placed her sixth and a second-day round to finish seventh.
 
T8. Lauren Martin, Mooresville (16-over): “The first day I had a bad hook and couldn’t get the ball to roll on the greens,” the junior said. “The second day I was able to straighten out my shots and made more putts. I’m definitely happy with my second day.”
 
T8. Audrey Nelson, Myers Park (16-over): The senior from the Charlotte school finished her prep career strongly with a second-day 75 to climb into the Top 10.
 
10. McKenzie Daffin, Jack Britt (18-over): “I’m not happy with the way I played,” the sophomore said. “I was three-under on the back nine the first day, so I know I can shoot a better score. But I had a triple (bogey on Tuesday). Overall I’m disappointed.”
 
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Tom Shanahan

Tom Shanahan is an award-winning sportswriter that began his career in San Diego but has been writing about North Carolina high school sports for nine years. He is the author of “Raye of Light,” a book on Michigan State’s leading role in the integration of college football. Jimmy Raye of E.E. Smith in Fayetteville was the South’s first black quarterback to win a national title on Michigan State’s 1966 team.