FRANKLIN — Both Anderson's Morgan Nadaline and Pendleton Heights' Emily Tilton birdied their final hole at the IHSAA state golf tournament here Saturday and it lifted them both to a place in the state's elite.
Nadaline carded an even par 72 today in the final round of her prep career. That was the third-best round among today's 100 competitors on a soggy, poor draining course that was continually being peppered with rain throughout the round.
Nadaline's +3 to par for the tournament lifted her into a tie for fourth.
Tilton, a junior, shot a 79 Saturday to put her tournament total to +13. That placed her 28th among the 100 golfers, but it also put her 12th on the leaderboard among underclassmen.
Nadaline's final putt on No. 18 was from about 15 feet, left of the hole and nearly pin high, yet the putt was far from straight.
"I knew I had to have the right combination of speed and break," said Nadaline. "I wanted to sink that putt so bad. That was the way I wanted to end it." That was the way it ended.
There was no comparison between Friday's round and the one Saturday. "I putted so much better today," said Nadaline. "I had five birdies, but I had a double bogey and three bogeys. I could have shot a 68 today."
Each of her first three birdies were followed on the next hole by a bogey or double bogey. That string ended with a birdie on No. 16 and another at the final hole.
The reality of this being her final round still hadn't taken full effect on her about 20 minutes after her birdie putt. "At the end I was the only one that wasn't crying so I don't think it has sunk in yet," said Nadaline. "But it has been a good career. It was so much fun to play with that group of golfers today because we have grown up playing against one another."
Next fall Nadaline will be playing for Ball State.
Tilton's closing birdie didn't have career-ending sweetness, but it did have an impact on the PH golfer. She posted a double bogey on No. 4 and then a string of five straight bogeys beginning at No. 8.
"That double was the only one she had in two rounds," said Arabians coach Tom Harvey. "But I wasn't worried about it because she never quits."
Her approach at No. 18 was perfectly placed. It was just to the right of the pin and uphill to the cup. The putt was right into the heart of the hole.
"That was big because I had waited all day for it," said Tilton of her only bird of the round. "I putted way better today. The course was very wet and playing a lot longer today. This course doesn't take rain well."
"She's just a junior so hopefully she will be back her again next year," said Harvey. If so there are very few ways better to end a prep career than with a birdie at No. 18 in a third straight state final appearance.