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STATE GIRLS GOLF

Lions shoot seven shots better on day two to snare 3A state title over Gilbert

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There wasn't much Colby Andrews needed to say entering Friday morning.

"We're fine, it is not a big deal," he told his Clear Lake girls golf team. "We're going to play Clear Lake golf and win this thing."

The Lions didn't panic being down 12 shots to Gilbert. They didn't worry about the final leaderboard. They went out with the goal to play one of their best rounds of the season.

And the result was the biggest trophy any of them have ever received.

Spurred by an 18-hole team score of 353 that was 15 shots better than the rest of the 10-team field, Clear Lake triumphed over Gilbert by three strokes to complete the comeback and win its third ever Class 3A state girls golf team championship at River Valley Golf Course in Adel.

It is the first team title for the Lions since 2012.

"It is unbelievable," sophomore Meghan DeLong said. "We were all kind of glad we had today to make it up and we had today to push. It is not hard to make up 12 strokes."

It was a celebration unlike Andrews has ever been a part of. There were screams of joy and relief that the Lions have reached the top of the 3A field after being third last spring.

"They missed way more school this year, not that that's a good thing necessarily, but I knew what kind of talent this team had," Andrews said. "It is exhilarating right now. I can't describe the feeling."

Priority No. 1 was to get to the state meet. Once they did, they felt like they were one of the favorites. They wanted to avenge last year's third place finish at the same golf course.

"People were telling us 'Oh, you guys got this in the bag,' but I didn't like to think that way because I'm not about to discount Gilbert," junior Rebecca DeLong said. "Our incredible (game) is better than theirs."

Meghan DeLong is now a two-time state medalist while Rebecca had her first state medal draped around her neck.

They had very similar rounds to start and end the two-day tournament. Meghan was 10-over par after the first 18 holes and Rebecca was four shots back at 14-over.

The sisters shot the exact same score of 81 on Friday and they both had a pair of birdies on their card. Meghan finished solo third with a two-day total of 163 while Rebecca was in a three-way tie for fifth with a 167.

"I put my goals higher," Meghan said. "To win this state title, we all just need to shoot better."

Far be it from Andrews to be surprised his top two golfers showed out when Clear Lake needed it.

"Waiting for the results, I was all over the place," he said. "I knew they were going to come back and have strong rounds. They did what they usually do and play stellar golf."

There was a 14-shot gap between the Lions third golfer Jaden Ainley and their fifth golfer Macey Holck. While Ainley struggled with a 95 on Friday, Holck rebounded by shooting seven shots better over the last 18 holes.

To Andrews and the DeLong sisters, that was the biggest difference.

"They are incredible," Rebecca said. "I'm just so very proud of them."

Holck and the DeLong sisters will be back next spring as will Clear Lake's two other juniors in the lineup in Lily James and Meagan Paine. No one is too focused yet on defending its state title.

There will be time to think about 2023. For now, the Lions are soaking this one in and will be celebrating for quite some time.

"Forever," Andrews said. "You can just see them all, once they knew it was official, it was an emotional moment."

Class 1A

Northwood-Kensett's Emma Davidson cut four strokes off of her score from Thursday (86), shooting an 82 and finishing +26 overall to garner her first ever state medal as a senior, placing in a tie for sixth at American Legion Golf Course in Marshalltown. 

It marked the final time she'll play golf competitively. She's heading to Iowa State in the fall to continue her studies.

"I'm extremely happy and proud of myself," Davidson said. "I am happy to just go out and play golf for fun now. Really enjoy the game and all that it has on life. It is awesome I went out on a high note."

It took awhile, north of two hours, for Davidson to realized she medaled. Her round was over pretty quickly and she knew her final score may have been good enough for a top-six finish.

Rather than paying attention to the live scoring, she was distracted thanks to her family.

"We talked and then my sister and I played random games on our phone," Davidson said. "Keep me in my mindset and not worry about how I finish."

She made par on eight holes and only had one double-bogey, compared to four on Thursday. She stated time working on her putting was one of the bigger differences in her two rounds.

"Just get more comfortable and confident with my putting," Davidson said. "The greens were hard to read, but today they were more consistent; they dried up."

Newman-Catholic's Emma Weiner cut five strokes from her Thursday score (94), shooting an 89 and making par on four holes. She also trimmed her double-bogeys down to three, compared to five on Thursday. She placed 17th overall, finishing at +41 for the tournament.

Class 2A

The Garner-Hayfield-Ventura girls’ golf team finished with a two-round score of 782 at the Class 2A state golf tournament in Cedar Falls on Friday that placed it eighth overall on the team leaderboard.

After carding rounds of 96 and 87, Audrey Overgaard led the Cardinals with a two-round total of 183. According the freshman, she took pride in being able to put together her best golf of the season at state.

“The second round was much better,” Overgaard said. “I improved a lot and it was best score of the year. So, I am really happy…It is amazing. I cannot believe I did it.”

Overgaard also described the opportunity to compete at state with her teammates as special.

“We all have a really good bond with each other," she said. "It makes it even more special coming with people you really like.”

Senior Rylee Frayne finished in second place on the Cardinals with rounds of 96 and 99. Senior Jailyn Klein scored a 196 in her two rounds to finish third on the Cardinals while sophomore Kenedee Frayne scored a 209 to finish fourth.

Freshman Sydney Helgeson and Jessa Heitland rounded out the top six for GHV.

According to head coach Todd Greiman, the Cardinals focused on having fun and enjoying their time at state.

“Just being here is a great experience,” Greiman said. “We wanted to have a good time with it and have fun and we did have fun…overall it was a great week.”

Zach Martin is a sports reporter for the Globe Gazette. Reach him via email at zachary.martin@globegazette.com and follow him on Twitter @zach_martin95.

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