The last time Bryana Nguyen closed out her final round at the Maryland state golf tournament, she was a nervous wreck, her hands admittedly trembling as the Atholton golfer sank a seven-foot putt to seal her first individual title last year.
With the recent cold weather hardening the University of Maryland golf course in College Park and an always-tough pool of competitors fighting to dethrone her, several factors threatened to once again unnerve Nguyen. But following a summer that included stops at the prestigious Junior PGA Championship and an amateur victory in Ohio, Nguyen’s demeanor had changed. Rather than shooting just well enough to win, the All-Met golfer tackled loftier goals, like bogey-free rounds and career-low scores.
Nguyen’s great expectations yielded unprecedented results this week, as she fired a two-day score of 8-under 134 to repeat as the girls’ state champion and set a new Maryland state record among boys and girls.
“I thought I was capable of going low – maybe not 8-under low. But I had high hopes and didn’t want to cut it close like last year,” said Nguyen, who will play at the University of North Carolina next year. “I wanted to be aggressive both days and get on the greens by attacking the pins.”
Following a five-birdie, bogey-free round on Monday to set a new girls’ state record score of 5-under 66, Nguyen got off to a strong start during Wednesday’s final round with birdies on her first three holes.
In the process, Nguyen was able to distance herself from Wootton’s Delaney Shah, who repeated as state runner-up with a score of 1-under 141.
Shah’s performance helped Wootton rally for its second straight 3A/4A team title with a score of 633 after entering the final round eight shots off the lead. Also pacing the Patriots was Justin Feldman, who carded a score of 73 on both days to set up a playoff with Glenelg’s Steven Segrist for the boys’ individual title.
Starting on the par-5 ninth hole, both players fired their tee shots wide. But Feldman’s kept bouncing beyond the rough and out of bounds, forcing him to take a one-stroke penalty and head back to the tee for his third shot.
Meantime, Segrist maintained his steady approach, knocking his next shot down the fairway to ultimately set up a six-foot putt for par. Feldman managed to rebound and drain a 12-foot putt for double bogey, but it wasn’t enough to overtake Segrist, who left his par putt short before calmly tapping in for the win.
“I was never really nervous. I just wanted to play it safe like I had during the week on that hole,” said Segrist, who eagled No. 16 during his first round. “It feels good to break through and win the title, because I feel like I’ve been improving all year long.”
In the 1A/2A team competition, Marriotts Ridge repeated as champion, recording a score of 614 to win its class by 71 strokes and take the overall title behind Bennett Buch (79-74-153) and Rachel Lee (77-70-147).