In the home stretch of what it hopes will be another historic season, the New Albany girls golf team continues to beat itself in the best sense of the term.
The Eagles expect nothing less out of themselves and each other.
New Albany began the Division I state tournament Oct. 18 at Ohio State’s Gray Course by shooting a single-round record 289, three strokes better than the previous mark it set during the final round last year, needing one more strong day to win its second consecutive state championship and finish off another undefeated season.
The Eagles’ Madison Spiess shot a 1-under par 69 and leads the tournament by a stroke over three golfers tied at 70.
Also scoring for New Albany were Anna Ritter (71) Kary Hollenbaugh (73) and Anna Coccia (76). Gwynnie Lee shot a 77.
“I had a few bumps in the first couple holes, just figuring out my nerves and stuff, but then I had three birdies in a row (from Nos. 12-14) and that felt pretty good,” Spiess said. “I felt like I could make more. I definitely felt (a 69) was possible. The course was playing pretty soft. I’m so proud of our team. Everybody had a great day.”
The Eagles extended their lead by recording six birdies in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 11-14 that includes two par-3s. They shot 7-over par as a team on the front nine and 2-over on the back.
“We were a little unsteady on the front nine, but we played really well on the back,” New Albany coach Rich Ritter said.
New Albany leads Liberty Township Lakota East by 15 strokes entering the final round Oct. 19.
Led by Julia Rabadam’s round of 72, Upper Arlington shot a 311 and is third. Also scoring for the Golden Bears were Emily Hummer (74), Reagan Nolan (78) and Lizzie Murray (87).
“We left a lot out there. Emily hit 17 fairways but struggled a little bit on the greens. Julia was consistent all day,” UA coach Steve Ford said. “I look at our scores and I know we can improve (for the final round).”
Grove City sophomore Lizzie Saur shot a 73 and is in a three-way tie for eighth place with Hollenbaugh and Massillon Jackson’s Avery Wright.
The day before, Saur made a hole-in-one on No. 2 during a practice round.
“I think she doesn’t want to focus on her number and just play her game,” Greyhounds coach Megan Blaney said.