Shannon Brooks had a two-shot lead with three holes remaining in Tuesday’s final round of the Virginia High School League girls’ golf championship, but the Madison sophomore wasn’t done yet.
A tee shot into the water on No. 16 and a three-putt on No. 17 resulted in consecutive bogeys, leaving Brooks with only a one-shot lead. She wondered if her dream of winning the title would slip away.
That’s why when Brooks drained a birdie putt on the 18th hole for a two-shot victory, she struggled to join the rest of the gallery in celebration at the Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton. Brooks was just happy she survived.
“I was real nervous on 17 after hitting my shot into the water,” said Brooks, who carded a two-day score of 1-over-par 145. “I didn’t feel good at all really until I finally hit my shot on the green on 18 and even afterward, it took a while to hit me that I’d won.”
Lord Botetourt’s Lyndsey Hunnell and Clover Hill’s Abby Portyrata both finished two shots back in a tie for second.
Brooks may have questioned herself during Tuesday’s final holes, but she left little doubt during the two-day tournament as to who was the state’s top female golfer. After draining birdies on her final two holes to card a first-place score of even-par 72 on Monday, Brooks fired five more birdies on Tuesday.
But Brooks’s hot streak was doused by a delay on the 16th green, as she and the rest of her foursome waited for the group in front of them to finish.
“It messed me up some to have to wait like that because I was feeling good after those last two holes,” Brooks admitted. “And then after I hit my shot in the water, it really threw me off and I had to regroup.”
Another Madison underclassman, Amber Liu, also showed her mettle during Tuesday’s final round. The freshman shook off three straight bogeys on Nos. 10, 11 and 12 to settle into a rhythm that resulted in pars on four of her five final holes and a final score of 7-over 151 to finish tied for fourth.
“I had a rough stretch there, but I just had to work through it and get back on track,” Liu said. “Entering this season, I honestly didn’t expect to have a chance to compete for state, but having teammates like Shannon to push me has helped me a lot.”
Langley’s Adrienne Schmidt, who finished sixth with a 80-72-152, was the only golfer other than Brooks to shoot a round of even par or better during the tournament.