As Grace London stepped onto the 18th tee of the NSCHSGAA girls golf championship at Eisenhower White Tuesday afternoon, she trailed leader Catherine Slade of Kellenberg by two strokes.
While the St. Anthony’s sophomore wasn’t perfect on the par-5 final hole, her bogey was enough to tie Slade, who triple-bogeyed, with the players tying at 12-over par 84 to force a sudden death playoff.
They played the 18th once more and London bogeyed again to edge out Slade by one stroke and earn her first individual title.
“Going into the last hole, I was thinking that I needed a birdie to have a chance,” London said. “I didn’t even know that my last putt for bogey was to go to a playoff.”
London bogeyed the first hole of the day but birdied the next two to help her shoot a 4-over 40 on the front nine. Slade trailed right behind her groupmate with a 41.
London had a two-stroke lead after 12 holes, but it didn’t last long. She bogeyed the par-4 13th hole while Slade made birdie to even the score. On the par-3 14th, London double-bogeyed and Slade made par to take a two-stroke lead.
“Grace just doesn’t get rattled,” coach Kathy Calfa said. “She’s a grinder. She’s played at the same club as me for a while and she’s at the range every day.”
Slade gained another stroke on 15 and London knew she needed gain some ground.
“I let it get to me a little bit, but I snapped right out of it,” London said.
London gained a stroke back on 16 before tying Slade on 18.
Along with London and Slade, four other golfers qualified for the CHSAA state tournament on Monday May 23 at Lancaster Country Club in Lancaster, New York. Mackenzie McManus (Our Lady of Mercy) and Meaghan Endres (St. John the Baptist), the league’s co-players of the year, respectively finished third with an 86 and fourth with a 92. Bridget LaRosa (Kellenberg) came in fifth with a 99 and Antonia Vitale (OLMA) shot a 101 to place sixth.