09/09/09 — Freshman leads Golden Falcons

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Freshman leads Golden Falcons

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on September 9, 2009 1:46 PM

DUDLEY -- A roller-coaster debut ended with a victory as freshman Tara Simmons led Charles B. Aycock to a first-place finish in the first Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference girls' golf match of the season Tuesday at Southern Wayne Country Club.

Simmons carded a nine-hole total of 41 to claim medalist honors in her first-ever career high school match. Eastern Wayne's Jasmine Reeves, the reigning ECC golfer of the year, finished one stroke behind in second place.

The duo battled throughout the match as conditions ran the gambit from cold rain, to wind, to sunshine. Reeves held a one-stroke advantage entering the par-4 ninth hole and got off the tee box with a long drive that found the rough.

Simmons drove her ball through the dog-leg right and came to rest in the trees, but a successful punch shot rolled just short of the green. A delicate chip stopped 10 feet short of the hole and left a makable par putt.

Reeves pulled her second shot out of the thick rough and found the greenside bunker. A thin shot out of the sand raced over the green and left a delicate chip down hill. Reeves logged a double bogey and watched as Simmons buried her par putt for the win.

"Tara played well enough to win but I don't think she played a round that she is happy with," said first-year Golden Falcons head coach Roger Rhodes. "One of the things that she is very good at is that she doesn't get rattled. When she focuses on her ball and doesn't worry about what the other players are doing is when she is at her best."

Lauren Larrison (49) and Jordyn Howell (61) rounded out the Golden Falcons' 151 team total. Southern Wayne, led by Darian Edwards' career-best 46, carded a three-player total of 162. Charity Wright fired a 57 while Mallory Gray logged a 59.

"I was really pleased with how my girls handled themselves today," said Southern Wayne head coach Michael Wiggs. "Darian shot her best round ever in a match and we got a chance to see where we stack up against the other teams at this point."

Eastern Wayne finished third in the team standings with a 167 total. Emily Deal carded a 62 and Marissa Williams fired a 63 for the Warriors.

Due to the ECC's realignment just three schools will be participating in conference play this season. Newcomers North Lenoir, South Johnston and Triton do not field girl's golf teams.

"As a first-year head coach, I am coming into a really good situation," said Rhodes. "The conference is contained within the county so we don't have to travel very far and I have a very strong young team."

The next ECC match is Monday at Lane Tree Golf Club.