GREENSBORO — Mount Airy junior golfer Alyssa Cox continued her summer season on the links by taking part in the 51st annual Twin States Girls’ Championship on Wednesday and Thursday at the Starmount Forest Country Club in Greensboro.
The event included most of the top junior female golfers from North and South Carolina. It ended in a three-way tie, with former state champion and Clemson University recruit Gracyn Burgess of Lexington, S.C. winning the title on the first playoff hole after finishing in a three-way tie for first place after two days of action and 36 holes played.
To be eligible for the tournament, one of the strongest of its kind in the Carolinas, a player had to not turn 19 prior to June 28, be a resident of North or South Carolina, and play to a Carolinas Golf Association handicap of 18.3 or less. Only the top 72 juniors and 12 sub-juniors (ages 8-11) who applied were eligible to play.
Cox, a member of the Mount Airy High School golf team and the Northwest 1A Conference Player of the Year in 2016, entered the event and was the only area golfer from a 1A school who was competing. She finished tied for 42nd in the event, shooting 87-85 — 172 on the 6,010-yard, par-72 course. The course was set up to play at a very difficult level, with no one under par for the tournament and only two players doing so in any round. Cox had only one birdie in 36 holes of play, but managed to avoid anything worse than a double-bogey on any hole.
She started play on the par-3 10th hole on Wednesday, as the field contained too many golfers to run the tournament without a staggered start. She made par on that hole and five of the first nine to make the turn at 42, but struggled to a 45 on the back nine and was in the middle of the pack when the day came to an end.
On Thursday, she opened up at the par-5, 482-yard seventh hole, where she’d made bogey the day before, but this time got up and down the lengthy hole much easier and scored her only birdie of the tournament. After having some problems on the back nine, she came back around and played the first six holes, and ended up shooting 39 on the front nine.
Cox is an active golfer year-round and competes in numerous Carolinas Golf Association and Tarheel Youth Golf Association tournaments. She was the low scorer among 1A golfers at the state 1A/2A championships last fall and won The Warrior tournament on Nov. 13 of last year as well, where she not only won the girls’ title, but also beat all but four of the boys who competed.
The top three finishers, Burgess, Michelle Harn (Charlotte) and Elle Johnson (Inman, S.C), all ended the tournament at three-over 147. In taking the title, Burgess became the first repeat winner of the Twin States in 30 years.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.