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Swett's Godwin In State Tournament
October 30, 2014Purnell Swett High School
PINEHURST — During parts of the final day of the NCHSAA 4A Golf Championship on Tuesday, Purnell Swett junior Meredith Godwin had to grind it out.
Through 18 long holes at Pinehurst No. 1, she struggled with the length of the course, which at times was moved back to the furthest tees.
A rough front nine where Godwin shot a 9-over 43 developed into a inspired back nine where she scored a 4-over for a total of 13-over-par 83, two strokes behind her 81 from the day before.
“I’m pretty happy about my score (and) that I came back, but I’m not satisfied. I’m never satisfied,” she said.
The overall score of 164 in the two-day state championship tournament put her in a tie for 29th place, improving on her finish of tied for 50th in the 2013 event.
Godwin was Robeson County’s only state qualifier. Jennifer Chang, of Athens Drive, the the tournament after scoring a even-par 70 on the second day to finish at 4-over-par 144.
It was the third time Godwin has qualified for the final tournament of the year and coach Jamie Locklear said each time she has come out with lessons she has used the next time.
“I feel like she kept a positive attitude,” Locklear said. “She went through and got down on herself a little bit but from experience from the previous two state championships and she hung in there and actually did a much better job than I thought she would do from the tees and distance and I’m very proud of her.”
The day didn’t start out well for Godwin, as the Purnell Swett junior was 5-over after only three holes. Her father, Michael Godwin was watching and said that he felt the weight of the final day got to her early on.
“I feel like the nerves, and the pressure of the tournament just came into play, especially on the last day,” he said.
Godwin fought through the next six holes, going 4 over with three pars, two bogeys and a costly double bogey on the par 3 No. 7 after she failed to escape a bunker with her first shot. She made the turn at 9-over par.
The back nine started with three straight bogeys on three of the longer holes on the course as she struggled with the distance, but on the No. 13, a par turned things around. Godwin said that par came as a wake up call for her.
“When I got my first par on the back side, I knew I had to get it together and finish up strong,” Godwin said.
She used the momentum from the par to finish the final five holes at 1-over par, with the lone bogey coming when she three-putted No. 16th hole. Michael Godwin said that is how he knows she can play every day.
“Basically it’s the kind of golf she is capable of playing,” he said.
Locklear said he was happy to see her gain control of her emotions on the back nine and climb back into the tournament.
“We talked about that,” Locklear said. “Golf is about handling your emotions, because as soon as you get upset, you drop your shoulders, you don’t have that positive attitude, it’s really hard to turn around and do the things your supposed to do in golf.”
That mental toughness is a key that Godwin said she is hoping to walk away from this year’s tournament with.
“(I want to) get my scores lower and keep my emotions more together,” she said. “I gain endurance for anything, just learning to stick with it and keep going. (I have) to be mentally tough just to read the greens and just keep going.”
With one year of high school golf left, that is one of several things that Godwin and her coach are looking to do. Along with that point, she wants to improve her strength to make a long course like Pinehurst more accessible.
“We have to erase everything and go back to the drawing board and work on those irons and getting that ball closer to the hole,” Locklear said. “We know she definitely has to be stronger, but I know she is going to be that leader on the team and I think with this last championship right here, she knows the things she needs to work on.”
For Godwin, the idea of consistency is going to be her goal.
“(I need to) get more consistent, I think, with my irons and my second shot is really the biggest thing,” she said.
For her dad, this tournament showed off her ability to have fun while still fighting, even when things aren’t going smoothly.
“I’m proud of her that she is enjoying the game and pressing to improve her game,” Michael said. “(That) stands out more than anything for me.”
Caleb Burggraaf can be reached at 910-816-1989 or on Twitter @cburgg9