CHARLOTTE — Alyssa Cox of Mount Airy High School was the low scorer among 1A golfers at the NCHSAA state championships in 2016 and fourth last year, but the rising senior has never been chosen to the Carolinas Golf Association’s All-State team.
After Monday’s results, maybe they’ll give her a closer look when it comes time to choose the 2018 team at the end of the year.
Cox and 23 other top junior golfers from the Carolinas were competing in the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls’ Golf Tour’s latest tournament on its North Carolina One-Day Series. The single-day, 18-hole event was contested at Pine Island Country Club in Charlotte, and it turned into a showdown between three golfers and everyone else playing for fourth. Cox was one of the three.
Pulling away from the field along with the pride of the Lady Bears were Sophie Holland of Cornelius, who made the CGA All-State first team in 2017 and its third team in 2016, and Anna McDonald of Hickory, a member of 2017’s second team.
On a tough course where only those three did better than 10-over par on the 5,804-yard, par-72 course, Cox played the final six holes in one-under par and ended the day with a score of 3-over 75, matching Holland. McDonald, who had been in the lead on the course for part of the day, was even par over the final six holes, but had made a triple-bogey 7 on the par-4, 334-yard 12th hole, dropping her from one-over to four-over. She was never able to recover any of those strokes and settled for third place.
Cox might have won the tournament if not for a shot that Holland made on the back nine, when she hit a hole-in-one on the par-3, 151-yard 13th hole that dropped her from +4 to +2 on the day. She followed that up with a birdie on the par-4 14th, but bogeyed 16 and 18 to fall back into a first-place tie with Cox, who had gone from +4 to +3 when she made birdie on the 462-yard par-5 15th.
Cox started the tournament badly, making double-bogey on the par-4 first hole, but then made par on the rest of the front nine and made the turn at two-over. Bogeys on 10 and 12 moved her to +4 but left her in contention before her strong finish.
Holland and Cox went to a sudden-death playoff, where Holland was able to get the better score on a hole and claim first place.
The event was the fifth tournament of the summer season for Cox, who has also been involved in summer workouts for the Lady Bears’ women’s basketball team. Cox has the unusual distinction of being a member of the state’s top 1A women’s golf and women’s basketball teams at the same time, and played a key role in both accomplishments.
The Peggy Kirk Bell Girls’ Golf Tour is the nation’s largest girls’ only junior tour. It hosts 11 one-day tournaments in North Carolina and a two-day finale at the end of the season. Cox is a frequent entrant in its events and has won PKB tournaments in the past.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.