ADVANCE — The high school golf season hasn’t officially begun for Mount Airy’s Alyssa Cox yet, but the reigning Northwest 1A Conference Player of the Year is already in top form.
Cox was the top golfer — male or female — to compete in the National Junior Golf Tour’s one-day tournament held Tuesday at the Oak Valley Golf Club in Advance. Officially, Cox emerged victorious in the tournament’s Girls 13-18 Division, in which she beat Grace Kehoe of Charlotte by 14 strokes.
Even more impressive, however, is that Cox’ one-under par 71 was the best round shot by any golfer in the field, in a tournament that was open to all boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 18. The next-best score posted by anyone was by Boys 14-15 champion Nicholas Song of Matthews, who shot even-par 72 for the day. No one else did better than three-over in any classification. Her achievement not only earned her the title for her age group, but also a trophy as the overall champion of the event.
There was never any question that Cox was going to win, as she threw down the gauntlet in the first four holes. After making par on the first hole, she scored three consecutive birdies at 2-3-4 and stormed into the lead at three-under. The Lady Bears’ junior faltered a bit at 7 and 9, where she made bogey, but made the turn at one-under 35 and was already 10 strokes in front of anyone else in her division. At 13, a third bogey dropped her back to even par, but she got the stroke back at 18, making birdie on the par-5 hole and becoming the only golfer to break par for the tournament.
The battle with Song for the overall title was closer. A birdie on 9 allowed him to make the turn at even par. He reached one-under with a second birdie on 10, and led the whole field on the course until a bogey at 14. Cox’ birdie on the last hole made her the field’s medalist.
Cox was competing in a NJGT event for the first time in almost a year, and continued her run of outstanding results in those tournaments. Last November 6, Cox took first place in a one-day tournament at the Warrior Golf Club, and then came in second at the Larkin Golf Club two weeks later.
Cox and the rest of the Lady Bears will start their season next Wednesday with a non-conference meet hosted by East Surry at the Pilot Knob Golf Club.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.