By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
As much as Eastern Alamance’s Emily Mathews has been a part of the scene in Class 3-A girls’ golf the past few years, there’s still something about the state tournament that seems a tad awkward.
“High school golf is some of the most nerve-wracking golf for me,” Mathews said. “Because of my stats and reputation, I’m kind of expected to win.”
And she did – again.
Mathews became a three-time state champion with another overwhelming victory this week.
Mathews capped her senior season with her third consecutive title in the state tournament Monday and Tuesday at Longleaf Golf and Family Club in Southern Pines.
She shot rounds of 1-over-par 73 and 6-under 66 for a 139 total.
Second place for the second year in a row was Sanaa Carter of Jacksonville. She was 11 shots back at 150 (74-76).
Mathews, whose home course is Mill Creek Golf Club in Mebane, led by one shot after Monday’s first round. Eastern coach Robbie Wood said Mathews put together a strategy of how to attack the course for the second round.
“I would say she was pretty determined,” Wood said. “She can read a golf course pretty well.”
Mathews began on the back nine in both rounds. She was bogey-free on Nos. 10-18 each day.
On Tuesday, she said it was important to stay in a groove despite her growing lead.
“I was 4 under after the turn, and I wanted to keep the pedal down,” she said. “I think I really stayed in my bubble and stayed focus, staying in my own space.”
That approach helped, she said, when she had a triple-bogey Monday. She had birdies on two of the next three holes.
In the second round, she followed back-to-back bogeys with birdies on the next two holes.
“It’s really fun to play under that pressure,” she said, pointing out that the best part was “my last round ever in high school I got to shoot 6 under.”
Wood said Mathews never flinched.
“Her golf game is very, very consistent,” Wood said. “Golf is a crazy game and anything can happen, but she plays through it.”
This was the fourth course in four years for the Class 3-A states. Mathews said she and the other golfers noted that it seemed like a tougher challenge because of the greens and the layout.
Wood said Mathews, 17, had an under-par average in Central Carolina 3-A Conference competition this year. So the 66 seemed about right.
“It’s pretty good, but it didn’t surprise us,” Wood said.
Last year, Mathews won by 12 shots.
Mathews is committed to golf collegiately for Virginia Tech. She’ll sign a national letter-of-intent next month.
Eastern Guilford’s Madison Cook tied for 20th at 178 (85-93). Western Alamance’s Mary Alice Massey tied for 22nd at 180 (97-83) and teammate Ashtyn Whitfield was 60th at 208 (105-103).