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GOLF: Dewendt earns third place at State Championship, boys team finishes eighth
Samantha Dewendt finished third individually at the Class 3A State Golf Championship on Tuesday, May 23. - photo by Rio White

Dawson County’s golf program capped its 2023 season with some notable results at the Class 3A state championship in Columbus, with Samantha Dewendt finishing third out of over 50 golfers with a two-day score of 5-over 149, while Walker Milholland helped the boys team place eighth out of 12 teams.

In order to make the 36-hole state championship, the boys team had to finish in the top three of a 13-team Area Tournament. While the girls team finished fifth in their Area and did not move on, Dewendt made it to State by winning the Area’s individual title.

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Despite weather conditions worsening over time, all of the Dawson golfers gave spirited effort against a high level of competition.

Dewendt took the momentum she built up from her stellar Area performance right into the state competition, posting an impressive career-best 18-hole score of 2-under 70 to sit in a tie for second place after the first day of action. 

“I was expecting [Dewendt] to play well, because she always plays well,” girls team head coach Tyler Baker said. “It was fun to watch her at state, knowing that she had been working really hard…to go out and shoot a career-best round on the first day was awesome.”

Having narrowly missed out on qualifying for State last season, Dewendt put everything into this year’s opportunity, utilizing her much-improved iron and wedge game to put Class 3A on notice. 

The junior hit a round of 79 in the second round to finish with the aggregate score of 149 to secure third place.

“The thing I have learned about Sam is, she prepares as well as anyone,” Baker said. “She gets a game plan together for the course she is playing and she sticks to that. I think the preparation allows her to relax a little in the big moments and just play golf.”

For the boys team, fellow junior Milholland had some of his best swings of the season in Columbus, starting the tournament with a first round of four-over 76. Maintaining his consistency on the second day, Milholland finished seventh overall individually with a 7-over 151.

"Walker was unbelievable. It is very difficult to shoot in the 70s, but to do it in those conditions, at the level, on both days was unbelievable," boys team head coach Will Anglin said. "He is such a great kid and understands the game so well. His approach to the game, preparation, and mindset are what set him apart. He has aspirations of playing at the next level and I know he will have that opportunity and he proved he can perform on the biggest stage."

The two-day tournament also marked the final rounds of golf for seniors Logan Casey, Will McNatt, and Jeremy Ray.

"This was a great year and one of the most fun groups that I have been around. I loved the way this group challenged one another," Anglin said. "They would hold each other accountable at practice and were competitive with one another on the course. Obviously, that mindset and work ethic started with our seniors. They were determined to keep the state playoff streak alive and would not be denied once again."