By Rubin E. Grant
If the Spain Park girls golf team keeps this up, they might earn the label of drama queens.
The Jaguars captured their second consecutive Class 7A state title in dramatic fashion in the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s 73rd State Golf Championships May 9-10 at Huntsville’s Robert Trent Jones Hampton Cove Golf Course.
Spain Park and Huntsville finished even with 452 team totals. Both teams finished 20-over par – with team scoring including the top three scores for each team. The state title was decided by a tie breaker, as set out by state tournament procedures, which compares each team’s No. 4 participant’s results. The Jaguars won the tie breaker and the state title thanks to sophomore Courtney Johnson’s 79-76 – 155 total – which tied her for ninth overall in the 7A competition.
“It’s amazing,” Spain Park coach Kelly Holland said. “This team has so much depth and it paid off. I told the girls it would take all four of them for us to win it, and they were so clutch and had laser-light focus.”
The Jaguars claimed the 2021 Class 7A title by one stroke over Huntsville when the second day of the tournament in Mobile was canceled because of inclement weather.
In last week’s tournament, senior Taylor Trible carded two rounds of 75 to finish as Spain Park’s low scorer at 150. Trible is headed to the University of Southern Miss to play in college.
Freshman Polly Kate McCrackin (79-73) had a two-day total of 152 to also finish in the top 10 along with Johnson. Hewitt-Trussville’s Molly Davidson shot two rounds of 70 to finish as low medalist with a 4-under par 140.
Spain Park’s girls now have won four state titles, with the others coming in 2009 (6A) and 2017 (7A).
The Jaguars figure to be in contention again next year. Trible and Haley Lockhart are the only two seniors on the team, with Johnson and McCrackin returning along with sophomore Emma Fortier and freshman Carmen Britt.
Rebels Go Back-to-Back
The Vestavia Hills boys also earned their second consecutive Class 7A golf title.
The Rebels shot a 2-over 290 on the second day and finished with a 590 total, five strokes ahead of Auburn at 595. Enterprise (612) was third and Hoover (624) fourth.
“It’s awesome to go back-to-back,” Vestavia Hills coach Stephanie Meadows said. “It was tight coming down to the end and Ward Harris sank a 25-foot or great putt to put us up by two with one group to play. It could have gone either way, but having a two-shot lead after the first day was huge.”
Last year, Vestavia Hills finished the first day with a two-shot lead over Enterprise and that stood up when the second round was canceled because of inclement weather.
“It’s nice to do it over 136 holes,” Meadows said. “We have a great group of kids who are really good golfers and they work hard. To see them have that pressure with somebody on their heels and maintain their focus over two days was great to see.”
Harris, a junior, shot a 3-under 69 on the second day to finish with a 142, good for third place among the individual leaders. James Clemens’ Jack Mitchell shot a pair of 68s to earn low-medalist with an 8-under 136, which was the lowest 36-hole total of all participants.
Spain Park’s Chase Keys turned in the lowest round of the second day with a 67 to finish second with a two-day total of 139.
Vestavia Hills had three other golfers among the top 10 individuals, Jay Clemmer (72-78-150), Andrew Szymela (76-75-151) and Parker Moellinger (79-72-151). Hoover’s Jacob Lee (78-73) also shot 151.
The state title was the fourth in Vestavia Hills’ school history. Harris, Clemmer, Szymela and Moellinger are all juniors and return next season along with sophomore Pierce Becker, so the Rebels will have a chance to continue their success.
“We have a very strong group coming back, so I hope we’ll have an opportunity to three-peat,” Meadows said.
Mountain Brook Adds Another Title
Senior Tom Fischer, an Ole Miss signee, tied for low medalist to lead the Mountain Brook boys to the Class 6A title, increasing their total of state championships to 11.
After shooting a 75 in windy conditions on the first day, Fischer shot the low round in Class 6A on the second day with a 4-under par 68 to finish deadlocked with St. Paul’s Buddy Fleming at 1-under 143 for the tourney. Fleming shot a 72 on the first day and a 71 in the second round.
As a team, Mountain Brook shot 1-over 289 to finish with a 590 total – just 14 strokes over par – to win its fifth consecutive state crown since 2017. St. Paul’s Episcopal was second with a two-day total of 603.
“The last four years it had been how many strokes would we win by, but this year it was a little closer,” Mountain Brook coach Alex Lockett said. “I guess I’ve gotten spoiled.”
Sophomore Thomas Norris (73-74-147), junior Carter Brooks (76-74-150) and senior Coe Murdock (77-75-152) also were among the 10-top individuals. Homewood’s Harrison Sims (79-70-149) also was in the top 10.
Fischer was one of three seniors on Mountain Brook’s team. Elad Sebbag, whose total (82-73-155) wasn’t counted on Mountain Brook’s scorecard, is headed to Central Alabama Community College to play golf. Murdock is going to Auburn as a student.
“I’m going to miss my seniors,” Lockett said. “They’ve been with me for a while.”