Bellingham girls capture sixth consecutive state title, Paul takes second

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 29, 2014 

Bellingham's girls' golf team won its sixth straight Class 2A State team title, and Jenn Paul finished second overall at the Class 2A State Girls' Golf Tournament on Thursday, May 29, at The Classic Golf Club in Spanaway.

The Red Raiders finished with 98 points to take the top spot by 25 points, its 12th state win in 13 years. Squalicum took ninth as a team with 33.5 points.

"It's a great feeling (being team champions)," Bellingham coach Brad McKay said in a phone interview. "At the beginning of the year we had some state people coming back, but didn't know if we could qualify enough golfers to make another run. We were able to qualify five to state and three to the second round, so that was great."

Paul posted a 78 on day two, the lowest single-round score of the tournament, but Fife's Kendall Grey was able to edge her by one shot. Paul finished with a total of 160.

"Jenn had a great round and battled with Kendall all day long," McKay said. "Four different times today they were even."

Going into the 16th hole, Paul was two shots down. She was able to pull even with a birdie on the hole and hit a par on the 17th hole. She shot another par on the 18th hole, but Grey was one shot better and locked up the title.

"It was really nerve-wracking, I wish I didn't know where I was at (score-wise)," Paul said in a phone interview. "I just focused on one shot at a time. I had kind of a rough start to the day, but I was a little less nervous overall."

On day one, Paul had started the round off with a triple and double bogey. The second day, she still started off with a pair of bogeys, but hadn't put herself in as big a hole as the first day.

"She had some chances to give up, but she battled back to give herself a shot," McKay said.

Paul's fellow Red Raider Madi McNeely finished fourth overall with a tournament total of 178. McNeely posted an 84 in round one, but on day two she shot a 94.

"We knew coming out this is a tough course," McKay said. "The scores feel elevated, but it's a decent score. Madi was able to make her goal of finishing in the top five."

Alex Ferrier, the other Bellingham golfer to qualify for day two, improved on her day-one score of 100 with a 99 in the second round.

"Alex actually had a roller coaster round," McKay said. "She started well, but then had some bad holes. The second day most of the field goes the wrong way, so if you can improve it's a win. I was proud of Alex for doing that."

Squalicum was led by Maddi Atwood-Knudsen's 191 tournament total. She shot a 95 the second day, one shot better than her first round, and took 16th.

"There was one hole where I had a bad drive and hit it in the water once, but I managed to come back from it," Atwood-Knudsen said in a phone interview. "I was like, 'OK, that hole wasn't the best, but I'm going to let go of it and play the next hole.' For my second year at state this finish is exciting. I felt like I stepped up my game when it counted toward the end of the season."

Lynden's Emily Ming finished 12th overall in the tournament. After shooting a 91 on the first day, Ming shot 94 in the second round for a total of 185.

"Emily is incredibly skilled, just sometimes the mental side gets in the way," Lynden coach Scott Sahagian said in a phone interview. "Anytime you have a kid in the second day you feel pretty good, we just had some higher goals. She's a great kid that played well all season long. It's tough to lose a good senior like that."

CLASS 2A GIRLS

BELLINGHAM

Jenn Paul 82-78-160 (2)

Madi McNeely 84-94-178 (4)

Alex Ferrier 100-99-199 (25)

LYNDEN

Emily Ming 91-94-185 (12)

SQUALICUM

Maddi Atwood-Knudsen 96-95-191 (16)

Courtney Flannery 101-103-204 (31)

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