Lady Lions dominate Invitational

Split Frame of two Carrollton girls golfer swinging
Photo: Glenn Holmes

Corey Cusick/Times-Georgian

The Central High School girls' golf team overcame the elements and a loaded field by firing an incredible performance to bring home the team title at the Lady Trojan Invitational on Monday evening.

The Lady Lions dominated the day at Sunset Hills Country Club with a round of 227 led by low medalist Ainsley Cowart with a 1-over-par 71, while younger sister Loralie Cowart had the second-best score of the day with a 3-over-par 74 to earn all-tournament team honors. Morgan Collins (81) rounded out the team scoring, followed by Shi Phillips (122).

Central's 227 was nine strokes ahead of second-place Woodward Academy (236), while Bremen (257) and Columbus (257) tied for third place. The host Lady Trojans finished in seventh place (281).

Needless to say, Central head coach Don Riggins was proud of the way his girls carried themselves against some of the top programs in the west Georgia area and beyond, not to mention the tough conditions from all the water that accumulated on the course following Sunday's storms.

"I'm just glad that everybody's game is coming together at the right time. We go to area (Tuesday) and hopefully we can have another strong day there. Our girls are tremendous. They've worked really hard all year. I just couldn't be prouder of them," Riggins said.

The elder Cowart, now a junior, continued her strong spring campaign with the 72 on Monday, and Riggins said his No. 1 player never ceases to amaze him by the way she handles herself on and off the course.

"She's going to run out of room in her house for all these trophies," Riggins said. "That's four tournaments this year where she's been the low medalist and, of course, little sister Loralie has been runner-up to her in two of these events. It's really nice when you have two girls that can go that low and give you a really good chance to be out there and be competitive with anybody."

Collins also had a quality effort in the No. 3 slot for the Lady Lions with her 81 to seal the team title.

"That was good for her. She's been going through some swing changes and battling that for some time, so it was good to see everything coming together for her," Riggins said. "Shi didn't have her best day, but we know she can do better at area and at state."

Riggins was appreciate of Carrollton High School and Sunset Hills for hosting the event, and he's hopeful his team can keep the momentum going heading into today's area competition in LaFayette leading up to the Class AAAA state championships.

"It's golf. It can turn at any time. But I just tell our girls to keep working hard and trusting what they're doing," Riggins said. "They have the game to make things happen. They stay focused on the course, they know how to manage their games. They take care of themselves off the course, as well. They're doing the right things to set them up to be successful on the golf course and in the school building. I have great kids, in terms of their grades. I'm real proud of how they manage being an athlete and a student at the same time."

Bremen also had a solid showing on Monday with Gittle Sciolis turning in the top score for the Lady Blue Devils with an 81, followed by Averi Schrews (85), Christian Williams (91) and Gabby Smith (121). Schrews was also honored for having the long drive of the day.

For the host Lady Trojans, it was senior standout Taylor Gray (86) with the top score, while Caroline Fjeran won the closest-to-the-pin award and shot a career-low round at 94. Morgan Gray and Abigail Duke both finished at 101 to round out the Carrollton quartet.

"One of the positives for us was Caroline Fjeran. She shot her personal-best with a 94. Taylor Gray stayed consistent with her score at 86. Abigail Duke and Morgan Gray came through with good scores, too, to help the team push up there," Carrollton head coach Jarrod Hogan said. "It's just we had great state competition around. It's just a tough overall tournament."

Carrollton's 'B' team came in ninth place led by Lina Baker (114), while Ashley New (117), Rachel Herrera (131) and Leeann Baker (133) rounded out the scorers.

While he was pleased with the performance from his girls, Hogan was also grateful to even get the Invitational in after things looked bleak on Sunday due to all the weather issues.

He said a great deal of credit goes to Sunset Hills general manager Justin Japour, assistant pro Steven MacPherson and the rest of the staff for putting on a great event.

"Sunset Hills was great assistant us from everything from setting up range balls all the way to getting food prepared for the girls. Steven did a wonderful job with the scores. Just overall tremendous help from them to make it a smooth tournament. We can't be thankful enough for everything they do for us," Hogan said.