The Dawson County Lady Tigers golf team qualified for the state tournament last week behind the play of junior golfer Sydney Morgan who became the AAA area champion.
The team played to a fourth place finish out of the 13 area teams with a score of 306 on April 25 at Old Union Golf Course in Blairsville.
To make it to state, the team needed a 330 or better with a top-five finish.
"I was pleased with the day that Tatum Pruitt and CeCe Formon put together," said Coach Michael Parker. "Neither one played their best round, but they battled a tough course for 18 holes to save every stroke possible to ensure we made the state tournament. I think that was the difference for us on Monday."
Parker said that many players struggled on the difficult course but that he was proud of the way the Lady Tigers were able to fight their way through.
Morgan stayed steady throughout, according to Parker.
"She never got rattled and continued to be consistent all day long," he said.
Morgan tied the round at 83 and had no idea that she would be going to a playoff hole.
"I didn't know I was going to have to play so I had to go back in and get my clubs out of my car," Morgan said. "Whenever they told me I was like ‘oh my gosh' and started freaking out but then whenever I got out there, I just calmed down."
After the initial panic over a playoff, she was able to relax and parred the first playoff hole to stay in the round.
"It was really intimidating because everybody was watching us. When you hit your shot, it was just all you," Morgan said. "Everybody was quiet, nobody talking, nobody moving so you were just really in the moment."
On the second playoff hole, she sank a 10-foot birdie putt to become area champ.
"She played the two playoff holes with nerves of steel," Parker said. "I was extremely impressed with how she handled herself. Golf is the most mentally challenging sport, and for her to not get rattled, even in a sudden-death playoff was phenomenal."
Morgan began playing golf her freshman year after giving up basketball and soccer because of some issues with her knees.
Her dad suggested the sport as he is an avid golfer.
"I got into it really quick and me and him just started playing together. It was really fun," she said.
The state tournament for AAA is a two-day, 36-hole event on May 22 and 23 at Okefenokee Country Club in Blackshear.