GREENFIELD — New Palestine won its first girls golf sectional title in four years and Greenfield-Central’s Sydnie Wherry completed her trifecta at the New Palestine Sectional held at Hawk’s Tail of Greenfield Monday.
The Dragons were decisive winners in a 10-team field, carding an 18-hole season-best round of 354.
“It feels really good,” senior Zoe Nelson said. “We’ve been working hard on this all year and it was our goal.”
Mt. Vernon, last year’s champion, was second with 399. Rushville scored 406 and was the third and final team to qualify for Saturday’s Lapel Regional.
Shenandoah was fourth with 420. Greenfield-Central placed fifth with a 434.
Wherry, a senior, was the individual champion earlier this year at the Hancock County Meet — also held at Hawk’s Tail —and won the Hoosier Heritage Conference title, on a playoff hole, Sept. 10 at Albany Golf Course.
Her goal in her final high school season was to win all three titles.
“I’m thrilled. I didn’t have quite the day I really wanted to have, but it ended up working out pretty well,” Wherry said. “It’s incredible. It’s a very cool feeling. There are other people that have (won all three tournaments), I’m not the first one to do it, but it’s cool to collect all three.”
On Monday, Wherry finished with an 81, three strokes better than her New Palestine friend Nelson, also a senior, who was the tournament runner-up with an 84.
“On the back nine, I improved a lot,” Nelson, who had a 40 on her final nine holes, said. “I wasn’t getting my hopes up. Sydnie is amazing. I play with her all the time, I’m used to the fact that she’s good. At the end it was getting pretty close, we both knew that. She had a good front nine and that helped her out a lot. I was proud of my round today. I haven’t scored that low in a while.”
It was Nelson’s best 18-hole score of the season.
Wherry opened strong with a 39 on her first nine holes.
“When I hit the back, I didn’t play the way that I wanted to,” Wherry said. “Zoe had a really good back nine to creep up a little bit. She played great. I always love playing with Zoe, she’s really good competition.”
The Dragons won it with consistency. They had all five golfers place in the Top 10. Following Nelson, Lauren Appleby placed fourth with an 87. Katie Kelley was sixth with a 90. Lily Kirchner placed seventh with a 93 and Hanna Beller shot 97.
It’s been the story for New Pal most of the season. They’ve been able to afford having a player have an off-round and still win duals and tournaments. On Monday, everyone was on their game for the season low total.
“This was on our list of goals this year. I am really happy for the girls and the confidence they found today,” coach Sarah O’Brien said. “Their scores were great.
“They didn’t struggle on the front, but we talked about starting over and playing their best on the back. I think all but one played better on the back nine, which is great.”
Mt. Vernon had its best round of the season, too.
It was the first time the Marauders had been under 400. Izzy VanHeel had a season-low 88 to place fifth. Natalie Miner also had a personal-best 18-hole round with a 97. She tied Beller for ninth spot.
“We knew we needed to shoot 400 to get out,” Mt. Vernon coach Mike Miner said. “I’m pleased that most have improved throughout the year.”
Along with the three teams advancing on to the regional tournament, to be held at Edgewood Golf Club in Anderson, the top three individuals not associated with the top three teams qualified. Wherry led that group followed by Shenandoah’s Carly Chandler, who was third overall with an 86. Also advancing is Shenandoah’s Maddie Shelton, who carded a 104.