By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Though no Madison County team made it out of the Anderson girls golf sectional at The Edge on Saturday, three individuals will advance and one of them provided much drama.
Hamilton Southeastern was the champion with a team score of 304. That gave the Royals a healthy 21-stroke margin over runner-up Noblesville. Fishers was third with a 372, which left Lapel six shots back in fourth. The top three teams advance to the New Castle regional next Saturday.
While no Madison County teams moved on, all three of the individuals who weren't on a top-three team but advanced were from the county.
It was no surprise that Anderson's Morgan Nadaline was one of the three. She carded a 73, just missing a chance for a playoff for medalist honors. That went to Southeastern's Marissa Holliday, who shot a 72.
Lapel grabbed the other two spots with Natalia Campbell shooting a 78 and Emma Hallinger carding an 89 and then moving on with a sudden death playoff win that went three extra holes.
Advancing is the biggest thing for teams or individuals but not getting sectional medalist honors was particularly disappointing to Nadaline, who was 4-over-par at one point in the round.
"I didn't start the way I wanted to, for sure," said Nadaline. "I just tried to hang in there and hope that something good would happen. I got a birdie on No. 17 (on a shotgun start) and that got it rolling."
She left an eagle putt short on No. 18 but got a birdie, and then missed a six-foot birdie putt on No. 1.
"I wanted to win this one pretty bad," she said. "I've never won medalist at sectional. But I am moving on. I feel really confident going to the regional."
Campbell got into the regional field with room to spare with her 78. But if it hadn't been for three straight double bogeys, beginning at No. 10, she could have been in contention for a medalist berth. She balanced that out with three straight 3s (two of those birdies) beginning at No. 14.
Hallinger's path to the regional had a few more anxious moments. She ended the 18 holes in a tie with Hamilton Heights' No. 1 player Catie Gehlhousen. Both shot 89s. That meant the pair went to No.1 for a sudden death playoff.
On that hole, both were out of the fairway off the tee, but both managed to save par. Hallinger made a nice save out of the front bunker to leave herself a 6-foot putt.
"She is a good sand player so that shot didn't surprise me," said Lapel coach John Maryan.
On No. 2, the golfers again parted company, with Gehlhousen going into the left rough and Hallinger in the tall grass on the right side. It took both two more shots to reach the green. Both left par putts well short of the hole but sank bogey putts.
For the third playoff hole, the pair went back to the par-5 No. 18. It was a nightmare for Gehlhousen. Her ball never landed in the fairway as she visited both the right and left rough. It took her five shots to reach the green, and when she missed a bogey putt from about 10 feet, all Hallinger had to do was two-putt from about five feet. She nailed it for par to win the playoff.
"She had never even seen a playoff in golf," said Maryan of his foreign exchange student. "I thought the longer it went, the better chance she had because it gave her time to settle down."