Overland Park — With a win all but in hand at Monday's Sunflower League golf tournament at Meadowbrook Country Club, Lawrence High's Sydney Wilson shot her dad a sheepish smile on hole No. 17.
But her impending victory wasn't the reason Wilson, an LHS junior, paused to grin.
"It's not very often you get a fun shot like that," said Wilson, who had the chance for eagle on 17, but instead ended up with a birdie.
Even with a hole to go, Wilson didn't know she would win the league meet with a 4-over-par 76, because other teams' No. 1 players still were scattered throughout the course. But she did know she was out in front of the group she was playing with -- and, more importantly, already had erased the embarrassing 90 she scored on the same course last week.
"It's very exciting to win league and come back and play so much better than last week," said Wilson, who claimed her first league crown with three birdies and 13 pars, good enough to distance herself from Olathe Northwest's Brooklyn O'Neil, who shot a 78.
Last week at the Shawnee Mission East Invitational, workers threw sand on the greens right before Wilson teed off at Meadowbrook, and she said it "messed her head up all day."
"I think the 90 last week was a real eye-opener for her that she needed to really start focusing for the final few meets of the season," LHS coach Mike Lewis said. "She did a great job of focusing in today, and I think that this could serve as a motivator for regionals next Monday."
It could motivate the Lions as a team, too, when they head to Topeka Public.
Lawrence scored a 373, which tied Shawnee Mission East for second behind league champion Olathe East's 362. But the Lancers won the tiebreaker, dropping the Lions to third. Free State was seventh with a score of 418.
"We had a lot of good contributors today who came out and got the job done," Lewis said of Whitney Juneau (95), Jamie Shmalberg (97) and Sam Hays (105). "To place third in the Sunflower League meet is really a great accomplishment."
While the Firebirds didn't have quite the overall team finish as the Lions, Free State coach Craig Hershiser had more than enough reasons to boast.
"That's our low score of the year, so we're pretty pleased about that," Hershiser said. "We also had three girls score their personal-best rounds."
Liz Brandt had the lowest Firebird score at a 98, but Erinn Faulconer shot the lowest nine-hole score of any Firebird in three years when she fired a 45 on the front half. Despite a 60 on the back, Faulconer's 105 still was a career-best. As was Chelsea Boisen's 106. Ashley Robinson rounded out the Firebirds' total with a 109.
Wilson's round might have been her best of the season, although a similar 4-over-par 76 at the LHS Invitational on Sept. 17 wasn't too shabby, she said.