10/31/12 — Back-to-back: Simmons wins second straight 3-A golf championship

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Back-to-back: Simmons wins second straight 3-A golf championship

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 31, 2012 1:49 PM

PINEHURST -- Winning one state title?

A blessing.

Two consecutive state titles?


Charles B. Aycock senior Tara Simmons played consistent over a two-day period and repeated as the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A women's golf champion Tuesday afternoon. Simmons posted a 36-hole round of 154 on the challenging, par-71 Longleaf Golf and Country Club layout.

Simmons trailed first-day leader Ashley Sloup of South Brunswick by one stroke. Sloup ballooned to an 83 in second-round play and finished third overall behind West Henderson's Chandler Danielson, who ended up four strokes behind Simmons.

"(Last year's title) is not even on the same level," Simmons said. "This year means so much more because it was my last year, my last chance to go out with a bang. I can't explain the feelings.

"I'm on cloud nine right now."

Simmons, who has verbally committed to Dartmouth University, became the second two-time state champion in Aycock's athletics history.

"It was a tough two days," CBA head coach Roger Rhodes said. "She played well yesterday (Monday) and played well today in those conditions. The pressure built ... the other girls just couldn't do it.

"It was meant to be. I'm tickled to death with her. Two (state titles) back-to-back is unreal with the caliber of golfers who were there. I've been a blessed man for the last four years and it's been an unreal trip ... amazing."

Inspired by a late collapse and third-place finish in the eastern regional just eight days ago, Simmons worked to keep the pressure off of herself during the two-day championships. She posted a solid 77 on Monday and felt disappointed that she wasn't in the lead.

Simmons duplicated her 77 in round two while her teammates, family and friends watched along the cartpaths.

She smartly chose her clubs and didn't encounter too many mishaps on the 5,570-yard layout. A couple of bogeys dotted her scorecard from missing the green and not chipping up-and-down. She three-putted on occasion, but she managed to avoid the water and sand traps.

"It was freezing cold here and the wind was blowing," Simmons said. "It was sprinkling off and on, and the wind was horrible today. You have to give yourself room with the wind and I really focused on picking the right clubs.

"Today I had a lot of nerves. After the first few holes, I tried to get into a rhythm and trust my swing. I've prepared for this day and put in the work, and today it paid off."