UNION — The Union County girls golf team (3-2) will compete in the state championship tournament for the first time in school history next week.
“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to compete at State,” said Head Coach Kim Baulkum. “It’ll be a good chance to prove to ourselves what we’re capable of.”
The Lady Jackets finished eighth at the 3A upper state golf qualifier on Monday at Brookstone Meadows in Anderson with a team total of 384, securing a spot in the state tournament to be held at the Hackler Course on the campus of Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach next Monday.
Baulkum said her team has flown under the radar over the past five years and has taken on the reputation of an underdog.
“We only organized the team five years ago,” she explained. “Union had a golf team back in the late ‘70s, I believe, but there hadn’t been one for a long time since then. We’ve had a couple of tough years playing teams an hour or more away instead of local teams and that’s been difficult for us. I feel like we’ve made some significant strides to be where we are now and the other teams see it too.”
When the results were posted following Monday’s qualifier, Baulkum said the Jackets did not expect to one of the teams advancing to State.
“We actually almost left before the results were posted,” she laughed. “When we saw that we’d made it everybody was so excited. Even teams that didn’t get in were happy for us. People were cheering and clapping. It was great.”
Junior Taylor Peahuff said the Union County golf team is surging into the tournament with a newfound momentum.
“I feel like we’re all striving to do our best and now that we’ve seen what its like to win we’re even more determined.” she said. “We’ve gotten so close as a team — like sisters — and we motivate each other.”
The Lady Jackets feature one senior, five juniors and a sophomore.
The team’s only senior, Jordan Lundeen, has been a source of consistency for Union County.
“I just try to do my best,” said Lundeen. “We’ve all worked really hard and it’s paying off.”
The Jackets have taken a laid back approach in preparing for the tournament. Instead of playing 18 rounds at practice on Tuesday, the team was spread across the front side of River Chase Golf Course, each athlete focusing on her individual weaknesses.
“We’re taking it easy,” Baulkum explained. “The girls know what aspects of the game they need to work on and they’re pretty self-motivated.”
The Jackets will enter the state tournament as a dark horse, but that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked.
“We’re in a good place,” said Baulkum. “We’re relaxed and ready to play. I don’t expect us to win the whole thing, but I also didn’t expect to qualify. Who knows, we may surprise you.”
Tee time for the state tournament is scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday.
River Chase Golf Course have provided the Lady Jackets with accommodations this season including offering free clinics and providing the team with a home field.
Upper State Scores:
# Player Rd 1
1 Kanani Lodge 83
2 Haley Palmer 91
3 Taylor Peahuff 101
4 Jordan Lundeen 109
5 Tatiana Ferguson 115
Union County Total: 384
Sports Editor Tiffany Grady-Hudgins can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by cell at (864) 251-4330.