HOMER — Three of the top four girls teams in the Class AAAAAAA State Golf Tournament hailed from Gwinnett. However, the team champion did not.
Lambert returned to the top Tuesday with a two-day score of 452 for a comfortable win over runner-up Mill Creek (469), and third-place North Gwinnett (496) and fourth-place Peachtree Ridge (500) made it a Gwinnett-heavy leaderboard at Chimney Oaks Golf Club. The championship was the sixth in seven years for Lambert, which saw its five-year run of state titles broken last season by North.
Mill Creek, Lambert’s closest competition, finished as state runner-up for the third straight year. The Hawks trailed Lambert by two shots after Monday’s first round, but could not match the Longhorns’ finish led by individual champion Averi Cline (74-73) and runner-up Rachel Burrell (77-71).
“I thought we played really well (Monday) and gave ourselves a chance,” Mill Creek coach David Allen said. “The 233 (in the first round) is probably one of the lowest scores we’ve had this year. I liked our chances going into this morning, but I knew we were going to have to play at our best. You’ve got to give credit to Lambert. A 221 is strong. Hat’s off to them. They did a heck of a job.”
Cline and Burrell were backed up by a 77 from Iris Cao in the second-round 221 for Lambert, which is coached by Brookwood grad and former Gwinnett coach Chris Roy.
Vanderbilt recruit Tess Davenport led the way for Mill Creek in third place individually at 150, two shots behind Burrell and three off Cline’s winning total. Davenport held the first-round lead with a 73, one ahead of Cline, but wasn’t at her best in a second-round 77.
She had three bogeys and two double bogeys before an eagle on the par-5, 15th hole got her back to 5 over. She had another eagle putt on the par-5, 18th, but ended up three-putting for par.
“Tess is phenomenal,” Allen said. “She’s one of those players, she doesn’t need any help. She does her thing and she knows her game better than anybody. I’m happy for her and her high school career. I can’t wait to watch her at Vanderbilt. She’s going to be an asset for them.”
Mill Creek’s other three players are back next season. Grace Chung surged with a second-round 77 after an opening 81, bumping her into an eighth-place tie with North’s Alice Acosta. Acosta also made a move Tuesday with a 76 after a first-round 82. Georgia Stonecypher (79-82) was Mill Creek’s other scorer and was 15th individually.
Yedam Lee led Peachtree Ridge’s fourth-place finish by taking fourth individually. After an opening 78, she closed with 73 to finish one shot behind Davenport at 151. The Lions’ Bridget Hoang (81-82) tied for 16th.
In addition to Acosta, North had three other golfers in the top 30 — Lauren Ebeling (tie for 26th, 86-84), Lauren Maher (tie for 29th, 87-84) and Anna Kate Loeffler (tie for 29th, 82-89).
Parkview’s Lily Hart, an individual qualifier, tied for 26th (84-86). The only other Gwinnett team that qualified was Brookwood, which finished 13th in the 14-team field.