Paige Diecidue was only a seventh-grader when she first qualified for the Suffolk County girls golf championships in 2014.
For the past five seasons, the Smithtown West standout has had her eyes set on capturing a county title, but could only look on, as those in front of her took the crown.
“I have been so close, especially during the last two years, when I finished second and missed winning by only one shot each time,” Diecidue said. “I have seen others do it and those are my role models. I wanted to serve (as a role model) for the younger girls.”
On Tuesday at Middle Island Country Club, the wait was over.
The senior shot 2-over-par 73 in the second round to finish with a 36-hole total of 6-over-par 148, capturing the elusive Suffolk individual title in her sixth straight championship appearance. Defending champion Caraline Oakley of Southampton placed second (162) and Ceili Howland of Sayville was third (170).
After posting a 75 during the first round on Monday, Diecidue carried a five-shot lead into Tuesday’s final round.
“I wanted to play my own game,” Diecidue said. “I kind of forgot about the score and didn’t worry about who was in second or in third. I tried to just take it shot by shot.”
Oakley, who defeated Diecidue in a playoff last year, said, “This year I didn’t play my best, but what can you do. I’m happy for her (Diecidue) and I’m also going to states, so overall I’m happy.”
In addition to Diecidue, Oakley and Howland, six other golfers qualified for the state championship that will be held May 31-June 2 at Deerfield Country Club in Brockport.
Hauppauge’s Colleen Buckley (172) finished fourth, Smithtown East’s Alexa Lubomski (175) was fifth, Sayville’s Hannah Niggemeier (178) placed sixth, Southampton’s Ella Coady was seventh (182), Mount Sinai’s Nicole Schwartz was eighth (184) and Connetquot’s Victoria D’Arcangelis was ninth (184).
Led by Howland and Niggemeier, the Golden Flashes captured their fourth straight Suffolk team championship, finishing with a score of 944. Southampton was second (973), and Smithtown West placed third (998) ahead of Hauppauge (1,025).
“I really want to wrap up my senior high school golf season on a high,” Diecidue said. “I’m really going to work on my short game to prepare for the state tournament because I know that’s one thing that will hold me steady when I’m out there.”