Having already won the Catholic league title at Eisenhower Park earlier this month, Ashley Harding returned Monday afternoon for a school history-making encore.
Harding shot an 8-over-par 80 at Eisenhower White to become the first Kellenberg player to win the Catholic association state girls golf championship. The senior edged Our Lady of Mercy’s Katie Costello by one stroke.
“I hit very consistently, my putting was the best it has ever been and I couldn’t be happier,” said Harding, who won her second Nassau-Suffolk league title on May 9. She also won that event as a sophomore, but said she was eager to bring that type of performance to the state level.
“I had always hoped I would get to this point, but if it hadn’t been for the people in my life, my teammates and the people competing against me pushing me, I wouldn’t have gotten here,” she said.
Harding’s consistency was on display throughout the round, as she shot a 40 on both the front and back nine, made par on eight holes and birdied the par-3 fifth. Her putt to make par on the par-5 18th ensured that she would hold off a late surge from Costello, who was two-over on the back nine.
“To have Ashley win the league tournament and be the first Catholic state champion for Kellenberg golf, I’m ecstatic,” Kellenberg coach Keith Doran said. “She never gets rattled and she’s totally consistent. She’s someone you can always count on.”
“It’s been such a ride competing in all these tournaments and having all my friends beside me,” Harding said. “It’s crazy thinking about how everybody, including me, has come this far. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Harding and Costello will be joined by three other Long Island Catholic league players in the state federation tournament, which begins on June 1 at Bethpage State Park: Kellenberg’s Emmah Federman who shot an 83 to finish fourth), St. John the Baptist’s Jessica Tucciarone (85, fifth place) and Our Lady of Mercy’s Victoria Dowling (89, tied for eighth).