From the start of the high school girls golf season, Terre Haute South has steadily improved its scores and has risen up scoreboards in each of the tournaments it’s taken part in because of it.
However, they had yet to be the one that got to take their picture after being crowned champions, yet continued to put in the work in hopes of getting that opportunity.
It came Thursday, as the Braves (172) edged out Terre Haute North (179), as well as West Vigo (221) to become county champions for the second straight year.
“Our players put in the extra time they needed in the last week. It’s just nice to see the score show for it,” Terre Haute South coach Cara Stuckey said.
South put up a season-best score with all six golfers breaking 50, a pleasant sight for Stuckey, and one Terre Haute North coach Brent Mier knew would happen as the postseason creeps closer and closer.
“We knew it would be close. Cara always seems to get them playing well at the right time of the year,” Mier said.
Why did they play well? Stuckey had the answer.
“Today, they were all consistent. We’ll always take those scores in the 40s,” Stuckey said.
Shortly after the Braves were named champions, there was still business to be taken care of between the Braves' top two, Sophie Boyll and Grace Kidwell.
Each finished with scores of 42, forcing a playoff hole to determine who’d be this year’s individual champion — if they wanted to.
It was a no-brainer to take part in it, Boyll said.
“I think it’s just like friendly competition rather than just going by the scorecard. I feel like there’s no fun in that. We both wanted to just get out and play. It was more fun for us,” she said.
And so the two strode to the first hole, along with Stuckey, their teammates and onlooking friends and family.
The left-handed swinging Kidwell teed off first, sending one just left of the fairway, while Boyll smacked it right down the middle.
Boyll then chipped it onto the green, setting up a birdie putt for the win after Kidwell just missed on her third-shot chip.
The short putt for Boyll went down without any trouble, giving her the title, as well as a congratulatory round of applause from Kidwell and the other Braves watching from their golf carts.
“I had a good drive, a good chip and a good putt,” Boyll said.
“I’m proud of those two. It was cool to see them play in a playoff,” Stuckey said of Boyll and Kidwell.
Terre Haute North’s Gabby Bonilla was a stroke behind Boyll and Kidwell with a 43, which was good for third place.
Mier said it was somewhat of a rough day for most of his team Thursday, but acknowledged Bonilla played quite well.
“Our girls are coming,” Mier said. “[Bonilla] has been up and down a little bit, but she played very consistent today and that’s what we’re starting to see a lot.”
Jenna Minor led the way for West Vigo, finishing with a score of 52.
Coach Chris Cassell said his group continues to get better each week.
“They’re improving. They keep getting better every day,” Cassell said.
Cassell, who also serves as the Terre Haute South boys golf coach, had the chance to coach Travis Smith, who the tournament is named after, during his time in high school, and offered his perspective on today’s golfers getting to play in his honor.
“I was his coach, so I have a special connection to him. I’m just glad his name will be attached to this forever, as it should be,” Cassell said. “Every golfer in the area should aspire to not only be the golfer he was, but the person he was too.”
Travis Smith County Championship
Team scores – Terre Haute South 172, Terre Haute North 179, West Vigo 221.
Terre Haute South (172) – Sophie Boyll 42, Grace Kidwell 42, Sailor Myers 43, Tatum Hill 45, Abi Haller 48, Kerr 47.
Terre Haute North (179) – Nikki Bonilla 45, Claire Thrift 45, Gabby Bonilla 43, Ally Cockrell 48, Morgan Adams 46, Karson Hart 64.
West Vigo (221) – Isabella Miller 56, Aliyah Orten 61, Kami Knight 56, Jenna Minor 52, Emily Noe 59, Ashton Stewart 57.
Next — South is at Edgewood on Monday; West Vigo hosts Linton on Tuesday; North hosts Linton on Sept. 12