Golf: Sharks top Panthers; Knaffle, Gray co-medalists

The three-time state champion St. James girls golf team captured the Region 6-5A tournament title on a breezy Monday at River Oaks Golf Plantation, but two-time reigning state champion Smith Knaffle had to share individual medalist honors with another up-and-comer.

Carolina Forest eighth-grader Mia Gray went shot for shot with the senior and South Carolina commit Knaffle, turning in identical 18-hole scores of 1-under 71. Time constraints forced the two to share co-medalist honors rather than a playoff.

“I have to admit, at the beginning it was a little intimidating,” said the 13-year-old Gray, who missed a short putt on the 18th hole that would have sealed the outright win. “But Smith is a really nice girl and it ended up being a pretty relaxing round of golf. It would have been nice (to settle it in a playoff) but it’s an honor to be co-medalist with her.”

The Lady Sharks shot a team total of 315 to beat runner-up Carolina Forest (329) and third-place Conway (389). West Florence (433) edged Socastee (436) and South Florence (469) for the fourth and final bid to next week’s Class 5A Lower State Tournament in Florence.

St. James also got a solid round from freshman Adrian Anderson (76), and teammates Amanda Meno and Katie Smith shot matching 84s. Playing for the first year in Class 5A, the Lady Sharks are strong contenders for another state title.

Carolina Forest also has a chance to make some noise in the Lower State. The Lady Panthers saw Alayna Fortenberry (75) finish tied for third individually and Victoria Callahan (80) take sixth to earn all-region honors.

Conway’s Lora Ledbetter led the Lady Tigers with a 75, good for a share of third place. and eighth-grader Taylor Reaves finished in seventh place with an 81.

Socastee’s Joey Kirkman shot 98 to qualify as an individual for the Class 5A Lower State Tournament, which will be held at the Columbia Country Club next Monday.

Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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