ZACHARY — Like the other competitors, Ouachita Christian’s Lana Hodge had her struggles because of the brisk winds swirling around the Copper Mill Golf Club course on Wednesday.
Although Hodge didn’t equal her first-day score of 3-under-par 69, she did well enough on her 17th birthday to claim top individual honors at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Division II-Class 3A and below girls state golf tournament.
Hodge shot a 3-over 75 to finish at 144, ending her junior year with an elusive win at the LHSAA state tourney. New Orleans-based McGehee also garnered an elusive victory, claiming the team title with a two-day score of 308. The victory ended the four-year stranglehold by Episcopal.
“We knew we had put in the work to make this possible,” McGehee coach Tim Harris said. “To have this team that includes my daughters win means so much. But it’s a credit to the whole team. They all worked together toward this goal.”
Episcopal was second at 314. Runnels (344) was third, Menard-Alexandria (346) was fourth and University (351) fifth.
The Knights led McGehee by three strokes after the first day of the tourney. With Angelica Harris shooting the day’s low score, a 1-over 73, the Hawks finished nine strokes ahead of Episcopal on the day, garnering a 156 to 165 advantage to claim the title.
“The main thing I had to do today was stay calm,” Hodge said. “I didn’t putt as well as I did yesterday, but I thought I hit the ball better on my drives. The way the wind was today, that was important.”
Angelica Harris, an eighth-grader, and Episcopal seventh-grader Julia Johnson tied at 148. Harris won the playoff to take second. University’s Anna Heine and Taylor Kennedy of Runnels tied for fourth at 159. Harris’ sister, Pearlissa, was next at 160.
“The main thing I wanted to do was shoot as low as I could,” Angelica Harris said. “I focused on that and tried not to let anything else bother me.”
The top three finishers each had three birdies on the day. Harris had two bogeys and one double bogey. Episcopal’s Johnson, who shot a 1-under 71 Tuesday, was plagued by a quadruple bogey on the ninth hole. She finished at 77. Heine carded a 78.
“McGehee came out on the first couple of holes and made up some strokes on us right away,” Episcopal coach Randy Richard said. “It was tough because the winds were blowing the opposite from the way they did during the practice round. The Harris girls battled through it. They deserved to win.”
Division I-5A, 4A
STM, BRADLEY LEAD: St. Thomas More-Lafayette leads Mandeville by one stroke after the first day of the Division I-Class 5A, 4A tourney being held at the Alexandria Golf & Country Club.
The Cougars finished at 177 and Mandeville was at 178. St. Joseph’s Academy is in third at 184 to pace the local contingent, followed by Northshore (189).
Mandeville’s Elise Bradley shot an even par 72, 10 strokes better than the next closest player. Salmen’s Jennifer Nguyen is in second at 82, followed by Domican’s Elizabeth Borda (85) and STM’s Lauren Aillet.
Taylor Thompson, who shot a 91, had the top score for St. Joseph’s and is tied for sixth. The two-day tourney concludes Thursday with tee times starting at 8 a.m.