MOULTRIE – Three of the four players the Colquitt County girls team will send out in this week’s Class 7A state golf tournament are veterans of the team that went to state last year.
But the Area 1 champions will face a tough field when the two-day 2019 state tournament tees off on Monday at Chimney Oaks Golf Club in Homer.
Chloe Howell, Madison Willis and Cate Tyler were three-quarters of the Lady Packers quartet that played through heavy rain to finish seventh in last year’s state tournament at Spring Hill Country Club in Tifton.
The Colquitt County trio played well enough to win the 2019 Area title on April 29 at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club in Valdosta with a 269.
But the Lady Packers will be without Elizabeth Funderburk, the team’s top player a year ago and who is now running track and cross country at Florida State, when they chase this year’s state championship.
Howell shot an 87 to lead the Lady Packers in the Area tournament.
Colquitt’s depth showed in the tournament as Willis turned in a 90 and Tyler a 92 to help take the title by 18 shots over second-place Camden County. Sadie Norman played No. 4 and shot 100.
Tift County was third with a 289. Both Camden and Tift also qualified for the 14-team state tournament.
Lowndes did not qualify, but Vikettes Emma Somers, who shot a 78 at the Area tournament, and Molly Davis, who had an 84, will go to Chimney Oaks as individuals.
Howell shot an 88-86 174 in the 2018 state tournament and had birdies on two front nine par 5s at Spring Hill. Tyler shot 93-92 185 and Willis 100-91 191.
The state tournament is expected to be a competitive one with defending champion North Gwinnett one of the favorites.
North Gwinnett won last year at Tifton by one shot over Mill Creek, which also will be in the field this week.
The Bulldogs’ win ended a streak of five straight state titles by Lambert, which could have the best team in this year’s field.
Lambert High School won this year’s Area 3 championship with a 235, the best score – by 10 strokes – carded in any of the four area tournaments.
In the Area 3 tournament, Lambert counted 76s shot by Iris Cao and Averi Cline and an 83 from Rachel Burrell.
Also in the girls state tournament field are East Coweta, North Paulding, Roswell, Walton, South Forsyth, Woodstock, Peachtree Ridge and Brookwood.