by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
PINEHURST— Kendra Dalton of Heritage High School finished in the top ten of the 4A women’s state golf tournament, held Monday and Tuesday at the Pinehurst Country Club in Pinehurst.
Dalton, a senior, shot a 77 on the first day, four strokes behind first place and fired an 80 the second day at the club’s number six course.
Her total score of 157 tied her for ninth place and was the best among other local golfers.
As a team, the Huskies finished in eighth place for their first state showing.
Wake Forest High School closed out the first day in third place but ended the tournament with a sixth place finish. Ardrey Kell High School won the tournament and Green Hope and Holly Springs finished second and third, respectively.
Athens Drive’s Emila Migliaccio was the top golfer, after firing rounds of 73 and 76.
After the first round, nine golfers were within five shots of the lead.
Dalton actually scored a 75 on the opening round but had to give herself a two-stroke penalty for a ball moving on the putting green.
“I was really happy after that round,” Dalton said. “Despite the penalty, it was a great round for me.”
Dalton said the course, which measured 5,735 yards, played short.
“If you missed fairways, you were probably going to find yourself in a tough spot,” she said.
The second round was much tougher, according to Dalton.
“I had to fight my way through it and I did,” she said. “I knew I could have put up something lower, but I hung in there.”
She had a good start but struggled on a few holes.
“My goal was to at least finish in the top ten,” she said. “I thought I could go top five but unfortunately, I had a rough day but I was very happy to make the top ten.”
Dalton will graduate in January and will enroll at Brigham Young University, where she plans to play golf.
Heritage’s Rhea Bhatia, the Cap 8 Conference Player of the Year, finished the match with rounds of 88 and 78.
Samantha Bennett was the top golfer for Wake Forest High School. She shot a 78 on the first day and ended the second round with an 88.
Bennett’s teammate Amanda Levy shot an 82 and 86.
The Cougars Madie Fingers also played in the tournament along with Hannah Whitt of Heritage and Casey Burroughs of Wakefield.
“Our team did their best and Samantha and Amanda were in the top 25 of over 74 girls,” said Wake Forest golf coach Kevin Lynch.
“Both girls along with Madie were hoping to keep third place from the first day for the school, but I think putting on the greens the second day just could not land them to get the balls in the cup,” Lynch added. Our sixth place finish this year was a great improvement from last year’s ninth place.”