BROCKTON — Eight months after carding the lowest score, a 75, and yet denied the Central Mass Division 3 boys’ golf championship at Blissful Meadows in Uxbridge, Lunenburg High’s Emily Nash shot the same score at Wednesday’s MIAA girls’ individual state championship at Thorny Lea GC in Brockton.
This time, however, her championship plaque is a keeper.
Playing brilliantly at Thorny Lea without ever seeing the course before, Nash, a junior, made five birdies on her way to a 1-over-par 75, four strokes better than runners-up Gabrielle Shieh of Concord Carlisle and Kaitlynn Washburn of Scituate.
On Monday, Shieh edged Nash by two shots to win the North/Central/West individual championship at Townsend Ridge.
“I definitely wanted to win states, so this is a great accomplishment for me,” said Nash, who because of her gender and MIAA rules, could not claim the CMass championship nor play in the state boys' championship last October.
Perhaps playing with a little more competitive fire because of the well-publicized controversy last fall, Nash charged to victory from her opening tee shot at Thorny Lea.
“I had heard a little bit about the course, but I had never played it,” she said.
And who would have thought that after she sank birdie putts on holes 2 and 3, going 2 under early.
“The second hole is a par 5, and I was almost on in two,” Nash said. “I chipped to about 3 feet and made the putt. The third is a par 3, and I made a 12-footer for birdie there.”
Nash finished the front side in par 37 after bogeys on holes 6 and 8, both par 5s.
On the back nine, she swung to 2 under again, with birdies on holes 11 and 14, before bogeying 15, 16 and 17.
“I missed a few greens and some makeable putts,” Nash said of the bogey streak.
Still, standing on the 18th tee, Nash held a one-stroke lead over Shieh playing in the same group.
“I knew if I could beat Gabrielle, I knew I had a really good chance of winning,” Nash said.
Shieh hooked her drive deep into the woods, and Nash’s tee shot carried straight and long down the fairway of the par-5 hole. Her second shot reached the fringe on the edge of the green, and her chip for an eagle hit the pin and settled a foot from the cup. She then tapped in her fifth birdie of the day.
“I was glad I ended on a good note,” said Nash, who worked on her putting stroke for nearly three hours Tuesday at the practice green at Monoosnock CC in Leominster. “I was determined to get my putting straight. It was off at Townsend on Monday.”
At the awards ceremony, Nash received an extra loud round of applause when she was presented with the MIAA championship plaque.
“Some of the girls were saying, congratulations, you beat both the guys and the girls,” Nash said. “It was nice. Everyone was so supportive.”
—Contact Jay Gearan at email@example.com.