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Katherine Schuster wins 23rd NC junior girls' golf championship

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Katherine Schuster kisses the trophy after winning the 23rd North Carolina Junior Girls’ Golf tournament championship, Friday, June 14, 2019 at Wilson Country Club in Wilson. Schuster, a resident of Kill Devil Hills, is a student at First Flight High School.

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From Carolinas Golf Association, staff reports

Saturday, June 15, 2019

WILSON — Katherine Schuster won the 23rd North Carolina Junior Girls’ Golf Championship at Wilson Country Club on Friday.

Schuster, a resident of Kill Devil Hills and a rising junior at First Flight High School, began Friday with semifinal match in the morning.

Schuster did not have an easy road to the final match.

Schuster needed all 18 holes to defeat her semifinal opponent Deborah Spair of Raleigh.

The match was back-and-forth all morning and it took a birdie on the 15th for Schuster to go 1 up in the match.

Pars down the final stretch were enough for Schuster to advance to the final match after defeating Spair 2 up.

The second semifinal match pitted No. 2 seed Maria Atwood of Holly Springs against Riley Hamilton of Reidsville Atwood was in control of the match for most of the morning, but faced a tough challenge from Hamilton in the final stretch.

Atwood was 4 up in the match after hole No. 10, but Hamilton rallied to make birdies at Nos. 11 and 12, then two clutch pars at Nos. 15 and 16. Atwood was 1 up going into No. 17 and was able to make two finishing pars to keep her lead and win her semifinal match 1 up.

“I had to play a lot of good golf because Riley was playing really well. We both were playing well. Both making a lot of birdies and trying to hit good iron shots, getting it close and then making the putt. I wanted to have fun today. I’m proud of myself for making it this far so I’m just happy to be here,” said Atwood.

Two close friends and former Mid-Atlantic Challenge Matches teammates stepped on the first tee for the final match on Friday afternoon. Schuster and Atwood were four-ball partners on the Carolinas Team in last year’s matches.

The match began with back-to-back bogeys from Schuster to immediately give Atwood a 2-up lead heading into the third hole.

Schuster made birdie at the 169-yard Par 3 third hole after a close approach to under 10 feet and cut Atwood’s lead in half.

Another birdie on the dogleg right fifth hole tied the match. Schuster took her first lead in the match after a chip-in from the front of the ninth green for birdie and she never looked back.

Schuster confidently stepped on the tenth tee and striped it down the fairway. She went on to win Nos. 10, 12, 13 and 14 to claim a 5&4 victory in her match and hoist the Linda Marsh North Carolina Junior Girls’ trophy.

“I have not even soaked it in yet. It’s pretty cool. This is my first ever official CGA win, so it’s a great one to have and I’m so excited to be part of the Carolinas Team again this year for the Mid-Atlantic Girls’ Matches,” said Schuster.

(The North Carolina Junior Girls’ Champion earns an automatic exemption to the Girls’ Mid-Atlantic Challenge Matches, a team event vs. Virginia/Maryland in August.)

“It’s always such a pleasure to play with Maria and we’ve played together for a long time,” said Schuster. “It was a great match. The course was in great shape and I want to thank the superintendent for keeping it in such good shape with the rain this week. I’m so excited to be the North Carolina Junior Girls’ Champion. It’s pretty cool!”

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