Amazing Grace Brahler — how sweet the swing — let neither the windy cold air nor the best high school girls in northeast Kansas deter her from her mission Tuesday morning at Painted Hills Golf Course in Kansas City, Kan. She wanted to win an 18-hole tournament for the first time, and that’s what she did.
A senior at Free State High, Brahler fired an 80 to win the Class 6A regional tournament and earned a trip to Monday’s state tournament at Dodge City Country Club. Brahler shot a 37 on the back nine holes.
Teammate Alyson Butler shot a 95 to qualify for the state tournament, as did Lawrence High’s Kathryn Lunte (94) and Payton Covert (101). Neither Free State nor Lawrence qualified as a team.
Brahler, reached by phone while riding back from the round with teammates, said she carded four birdies, two on each side, and credited the victory to a long and accurate driver and a hot putter.
Brahler arrived armed to battle the cold and teed off wearing winter golf gloves.
“They got in the way of my swing, so I took them off after the first hole,” said Brahler, who started with a bogey.
She finished with a par, making a putt she estimated to be 15 feet long to finish one stroke ahead of Anne Willman and Elizabeth Ward of Shawnee Mission East.
Brahler said she plans to play golf in college, but has not yet chosen a school. She said Princeton University coach Amy Bond, whom she met through Lawrence Country Club teaching professional Kristen Samp, is helping her to make connections with college coaches.
Brahler, who shot a 95 in the first round that counted toward the Sunflower League championships and a 79 in the second round, once was lost but now has found the key to consistency.
“I think it’s just more that I know I can shoot lower now,” Brahler said. “It just pushes me to not have the blow-ups on some holes.”