It had been a great regular season for Severna Park golfer Kelly Lynch: a scoring average of 2.5 strokes over par in her nine-hole matches, better than any player -- male or female -- in the county, and the winning score -- again for either male or female -- at the county championship.
But this was the Maryland 4A/3A state championships, and by her own admission the University of Maryland Golf Course, site of last week's 36-hole tournament, did not suit her game. Lynch said she's best at shots from 100 yards in, where she can nestle a wedge shot close to the pin. But the par-fours on the course were fairly long, and she consistently faced approach shots of 150 yards or more.
"The course does not play to my strengths at all," said Lynch.
At the end of the first round, Lynch had overcome bogeys on her first two holes to shoot a 4-over 75 (5 bogeys, 1 birdie), good for the lead.
Then mother nature intervened. Heavy rain forced cancellation of the second round, and the event was shortened to 18 holes. Lynch then had to wait to see if any girl in the 2A/1A event, played the day after the rain, shot a better score. Pikesville's Michelle Grilli came close with a 76, but none was better. Lynch, who played in Northeast All-Met Stephanie Connelly's shadow the past two years, was champion.
"It didn't really sink in until a little while later," she said. "You know, I didn't think I played that great to have won. [But] it feels cool to win.
"I think it would have been a lot different if it was two days. [The first day] I was just trying to get a score that I could work with. If I was playing the second day, it would have been a lot harder playing with [the leaders]."
Lynch, who placed 10th and 9th, respectively, at states as a freshman and sophomore, said she was "pretty calm throughout the whole thing," mainly because she played with her good friend, Hillary Lawson from Magruder.
"In other years I let the course get to me. I went in there thinking I would fail," Lynch said. "This time I went in there feeling confident. I just went out and played. I didn't think about it too much."
Lynch's 75, combined with Eric Florenz's 76, Matt Guanti's 89 and Mark Benischek's 87, gave Severna Park a team score of 327, good for sixth place in 4A/3A.
"I credit her with having the mental mettle" to overcome the first two bogeys, said Falcons coach Paul Pellicani. "She's a tough kid. Don't get me wrong, she's 100 percent young lady, but she's a tough kid."