Katherine Schuster added another state championship to her golf resume on Friday, winning the 23rd North Carolina Junior Girls Championship and her first career Carolinas Golf Association victory.
The rising junior at First Flight High School has already won back-to-back NCHSAA 1A/2A individual championships, and was the top seed headed into the tournament that began Tuesday with qualifying stroke play.
Schuster took medalist honors by two shots over Maria Atwood of Holly Springs in the 27-hole, stroke play qualifier contested on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Wilson Country Club.
In the Wednesday afternoon round of 32 match play, Schuster bested Bethany Welch of Matthews 5 and 3.
On Thursday, the Kill Devil Hills native picked up a 2 and 1 win over Macie Burcham of Greensboro in the round of 16, and knocked off Sophie Holland of Cornelius 6 and 4 in the quarterfinals.
Schuster would then need all 18 holes to defeat her semifinal opponent, Deborah Spair of Raleigh.
The match was back-and-forth all morning and it took a birdie on the 15th for Schuster to go 1 up in the match. Pars down the final stretch were enough for Schuster to advance to the final match after defeating Spair, 2 up.
Two close friends and former Mid-Atlantic Challenge Matches teammates stepped on the first tee for the final match on Friday afternoon. Schuster and No. 2 seed Maria Atwood of Holly Springs were four-ball partners on the Carolinas Team in last year’s matches.
The match began with back-to-back bogeys from Schuster to immediately give Atwood a 2 up lead heading into the third hole.
Schuster made birdie at the 169-yard Par 3 third hole after a close approach to under 10 feet and cut Atwood’s lead in half. Another birdie on the dogleg right fifth hole tied the match.
She took her first lead in the match after a chip-in from the front of the ninth green for birdie and she never looked back.
Schuster confidently stepped on the tenth tee and striped it down the fairway. She went on to win Nos. 10, 12, 13 and 14 to claim a 5 and 4 victory and hoist the Linda Marsh North Carolina Junior Girls Trophy.
“I have not even soaked it in yet. It’s pretty cool. This is my first ever official CGA win, so it’s a great one to have and I’m so excited to be part of the Carolinas Team again this year for the Mid-Atlantic Girls’ Matches,” said Schuster.
The North Carolina Junior Girls champion earns an automatic exemption to the Girls’ Mid-Atlantic Challenge Matches, a team event vs. Virginia/Maryland in August.
“It’s always such a pleasure to play with Maria and we’ve played together for a long time,” said Schuster. “It was a great match.
The tournament was played on the 6,025 yards, Par 72, Wilson Country Club layout.
“The course was in great shape and I want to thank the superintendent for keeping it in such good shape with the rain this week,” Schuster said. “I’m so excited to be the North Carolina Junior Girls’ Champion. It’s pretty cool!”
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