In the five years since the sport was established, New Albany girls golf has remained consistent in its efforts, advancing to state each year as the second seed from the division tournament. This season, the Lady Bulldogs achieved a great accomplishment, taking the division title last week.
“Since the MHSAA began allowing the girls to compete, I’ve seen this group get better and better,” coach Robert Garrett said. “They haven’t had a chance to breathe this year, and I’ve been working them and watching them improve. I have four that compete that are all good, but the top three are the ones that will advance to state.”
Garrett is in his seventh season as the golf coach at New Albany and has worked with the girls each years since its inception in the 2007-08 school year. One golfer in particular that he credits with the growth of the program is senior Summer Sanderson.
“She’s almost like having an assistant coach out there,” he said. “Between her and Peyton Dunlap working with the boys, it’s been such a pleasure to have both of them. They’re both very helpful, easy to coach and do whatever it is that is asked of them.”
Competing against Saltillo and Pontotoc in district play last week, Sanderson was the medalist, shooting a 96 to lead the Lady Bulldogs. Lauren Dunlap and Sanderson’s younger sister, Lenzi, also qualified for state, each shooting a 100 for the tournament.
Pontotoc finished in second with a team score of 201, while Saltillo was third with a score of 218.
The boys traveled to Lewisburg on Monday finishing in second to the Patriots in district play to qualify for state.
“Eight days ago on our home course, we beat them by 22 strokes, and on their home course, we lost by 14 strokes,” Garrett said. “Golf is a game where the course you play on is 50 percent of the formula. We had them on our course and they got us on theirs.”
“I’m proud of them making it to state once more. This is only the second time we’ve gone as district runners-up, but our focus is on going to state and seeing what we can do there.”
The state tournaments will be held May 7-10.