A little more than a week after winning the 7th Region tournament for the first time, Madison Central's girls' golf team added its first team title in the Leachman Buick-GMC-Cadillac KHSAA Girls State Championship at Bowling Green Country Club on Saturday.
The Indians were tied with Paul Laurence Dunbar for the team lead after the first round. They used a a 313 on the second day to fend off Elizabethtown — which entered Saturday two strokes behind the leaders — by three strokes with a 629. Dunbar was third with a 636. Notre Dame (655) and South Warren (660) rounded out the top five.
Madison Central was buoyed by Tristyn Nowlin's 5-under par 139, good for a second-place finish individually. She shot a 67 on day two to put herself in contention for medalist honors.
Upon her request, Indians Coach Mike Neal informed Nowlin of the standings heading into her final hole: she needed a birdie on No. 18 to force a playoff with Paducah Tilghman senior Teri Doss, who shot a 138.
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"I love to have pressure on me," Nowlin said. "I love when there's 100 people watching my last putt on 18."
About that many watched her miss a 20-footer for birdie that "just went right over the right edge of the hole," Nowlin said.
She was more happy that the team came away with a title than she was disappointed in her individual finish.
"It feels great to prove that we're here," Nowlin said of the Indians' program, which missed out on the state tournament after shooting a 319 in 2014 (a 324 won the region this season). "We came out of nowhere and were the underdogs. It's just crazy."
Neal said what made his team great were the relationships which composed it. They've made "friendships for life."
"We've got a tight-knit group of girls and families," Neal said. "As soon as every player gets finished they always go and support the rest of the team. I hear a lot of stories about teams that aren't that way."
Doss, who has committed to play at Mississippi State, said she hit the ball really well both days but had a few more misses on Saturday. She finished about 40 minutes ahead of Nowlin and was tracking her final holes.
"I fully expected to have to go back out and play some more holes because she's a great player," Doss said.
A playoff wasn't necessary — unlike the boys' tournament earlier this week, which featured a state-record tying four extra holes — so Doss became the first girls' individual state medalist in Tilghman history.
Dunbar's third-place outing was four spots ahead of where it finished last season after winning the region tournament. It was runner-up in the 7th Region this year.
"Our girls were all in good spirits," Bulldogs Coach Ashlee Hunt said. "They were confident and fought the entire time. As a first-year coach, I could not be more proud of each and every one of them."