BOWLING GREEN — Grace Rose won the Leachman/KHSAA State Golf Championship on Saturday, a fitting final act to the Rose family's long-running play at West Jessamine.
After playing perhaps the best golf of her life on Friday — a 5-under-par 67 and the first bogey-free round of her career — Rose was in grind-it-out mode on Saturday at Bowling Green Country Club.
Rose didn't make a birdie until the 18th hole, but her final-round 75 and 2-under total of 142 gave her a three-shot victory over Sacred Heart junior Maddie Hamilton and Henry County junior MacKenzie Peyton.
"It's crazy," Rose said when asked what it felt like to cap her career with a state title. "I'm not even processing it right now.
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"It was awesome to get a birdie on the last hole. It was exciting to end it all like that."
Rose's victory also meant West Jessamine is the first school in state history to sweep girls' and boys' medalist honors. Fred Allen Meyer won his second straight boys' title on Wednesday.
Rose was a sixth-grader and her sister Ashlee was a sophomore on West Jessamine's 2007 state championship team. Their brother Travis was on the Colts' 2012 boys' team that won it all.
Wade and Dana Rose's children played in the state tournament 17 times among them, and each celebrated a championship.
Does Grace have bragging rights since she won an individual title? "I guess you could say that," she said with a modest laugh.
Sacred Heart won its third consecutive team title, rallying to beat Calloway County by five shots. Hamilton (70-75) led the Valkyries, along with Meredith Moir (79-77) and Rachel Gathof (78-78), who tied for 22nd.
Calloway County was led by defending champion Anna Hack (72-78), who tied for seventh.
Henry Clay finished third, 18 shots behind Sacred Heart. The Blue Devils got terrific play from sophomore Leslie Ginter (77-73), who tied for seventh. Junior Kie Purdom (77-76) tied for 13th and senior Alison Miller (80-75) tied for 19th. Sophomore Sara Bidarian (86-92) tied for 55th and senior Meg Mills (92-89) tied for 61st.
Henry Clay Coach Kevin Mims hoped his team could challenge for the title, but it faltered on the front nine on Friday and couldn't recover even though it played solid golf the rest of the way.
"We played right with (Sacred Heart and Calloway County) today. We just let them get too big of a lead on Friday," Mims said. "But Leslie shooting a 73 playing with Maddie and Anna, that was phenomenal."
Grace Rose had a sizeable gallery following her march to victory. It included her family, and University of Kentucky golf coach Golda Borst, who will have Rose playing for the Wildcats next year.
West Jessamine Coach Jen Brown was also with Rose every step of the way. The two embraced in an emotional hug in the 18th fairway before Rose's third shot.
"I've had Grace since she was a seventh-grader my first year of coaching," Brown said. "This couldn't happen to a better, nicer person. She works so hard and has so much heart and love for the game. I'm going to miss her a lot."