BOWLING GREEN — Emma Talley checked her scorecard not once, not twice, not three times.
"I checked it five or six times today," the Caldwell County junior golfer said smiling. "That was a big ordeal, and I didn't want to be in that situation again."
Talley signed an incorrect scorecard last year and was disqualified after her win in the Leachman/KHSAA Girls' State Golf Tournament at Bowling Green Country Club.
Talley's honesty made national news.
"It's unbelievable how being honest will pay off," she said. "I didn't think it was going to be that big of a deal. I'm happy people know me for that now, and hopefully I won't do anything to screw that up."
She left nothing to chance Wednesday en route to the state title, her second in the past three years.
Talley's 5-under-par 139 was nine strokes better than good friend Megan Wilshire of Scott County, who had finished third in her previous two state-tournament outings.
"To finish second this year, I was pretty proud," Wilshire said. "Everyone wants to win, but Emma played great, and I did the best I could."
Green County won the team title for the second year in a row, this time 13 shots better than Sacred Heart. Glasgow and Lone Oak finished tied for third, followed by Scott County.
Senior Kate Larimore and sophomores Olivia Parrott and Cassidy Scantland led the way for the Dragons.
Coach Rick Davis, who will return four of his five golfers next season, said it was great to repeat.
"How sweet it is," he said, clutching the trophy. "It's fantastic. Talk about a great group of girls."
Davis was impressed with Talley, as well.
"We'll be watching her on TV someday playing in the LPGA," he said. "She's that good."
Talley, who was the only player to finish under par, was granted an exemption to play in the tournament by the KHSAA after she missed last week's region competition while playing for Team USA in the Junior Ryder Cup in Scotland.
"The USA winning the Junior Ryder Cup was just marvelous, and I had a wonderful time over there," she said. "But then capping it off with this was unbelievable. I feel so blessed and honored to have this opportunity."
Talley said she struggled early on Wednesday, including a double bogey on the ninth hole, before finding her groove, earning birdies on four of her last six holes.
"I was playing too careful all day, and I just got mad and played my game the rest of the day," she said.
Wilshire was feeling good about her day until trouble struck at the 14th.
"I hit it in the water and then hit it into a tree," she said. "I struggled on that hole and tried to fight back."
North Hardin sophomore Lydia Gumm, playing in her eighth straight state tournament, finished in third place, followed by West Jessamine standout Emily Haas. Abby Smith of Franklin County rounded out the top five.
Haas struggled mightily on the opening day and was in eighth place after double bogeys at 1, 7 and 11 Tuesday.
"It was mental mistakes, not thinking through my shots, not really committing to my shots," she said.
She more than made up for it on Wednesday.
"I was pretty happy with my round today," she said. "I could have made up a few shots here and there but, for the most part, they were all better than yesterday."