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Steady Carl claims SOC girls crown; Grizz nets team title

Melissa Carl and the Roseburg High girls golf coach, Nora Eaton, may have been the only people not surprised by the final scores at the Southern Oregon Conference district golf tournament.

While the friendly rivalry between Ashland High's Stephanie Johns and Grants Pass' Justine Hix had been played up to be the big competition of the tournament, it was Carl who earned the medalist honors with a 4-over-par 77 to close the two-day event at Rogue Valley Country Club.

I just played my game, said Carl, a Roseburg senior. It just happened.

The Class 4A state tournament will be next Monday and Tuesday at the OGA Members Course in Tukwila.

Carl will make her fourth and final trip to the state tournament as an individual, but her team will stay home.

— Ashland High took first in the district tournament team scores at 698. Grants Pass finished second with 725.

The team stepped up, said Ashland coach Stephanie Santos said. I'm happy overall with them.

Because the Grizzlies lead the total season scores for the conference ' the team swept every all-SOC tournament this season ' the team automatically earns a berth to the state meet. The Cavers will move on to state as the No. 2 representative from the SOC.

After Day — of the tourney, Carl sat second in the standings with a 77. Johns controlled the field with a 74 and Hix trailed in third with an 80.

Golf's different every day, Carl said. I thought there's no chance I could go four below Stephanie. Stephanie's usually so consistent.

But Tuesday afternoon, it was Carl who ruled the course with a strong drive and clean putting. Carl's two-day total of 154 surprised tournament favorites Johns (158) and Hix (159), who finished second and third, respectively.

We were hoping to see some better scores from the girls, said Santos said. I think they were too.

Although the trio knew the final totals would be close, it wasn't until the official scores were tabulated that Carl realized she had won.

The other girls may have had an idea, though.

Entering the 18th hole, Carl sent a well-placed shot up the fairway as the others landed their attempts in the rough. Johns even lost control of her club as the ball curved left far up the course.

At the time, Carl held a three-stroke lead over Hix and was six ahead of Johns.

I didn't know what the scores were the whole round, Carl admitted.

With their second strokes, Carl and Hix each found the green, but Johns knocked her ball a bit too hard and ended up on the far side of the green. Even from the uphill position, Johns nearly birdied as the ball rolled inches past the cup.

Although she had struggled with her short game earlier, Hix had no problem with the 10-foot putt that gave her a birdie and a 79.

My drives were pretty good today, Hix said, adding that she needs to focus on her putting now.

Carl wasn't as accurate as Hix on her birdie attempt and settled for par, but still finished with the victory.

I've seen her play, Eaton said of Carl. She's had it in her this season. She started off strong, then had this three-week period where she was frustrated and things weren't clicking.

Carl, a three-time state qualifier, visited her personal coach in Eugene, who adjusted her clubs to fit developments in her swing.

With that tweaking, Carl resumed her almost-forgotten presence in the world of prep golf.

I didn't have any confidence until the past two weeks, said Carl, who tied for medalist honors with Johns at an all-SOC tournament last week.

Melissa was there, Melissa faded away and then Melissa came back, Eaton said.

TOP 10 INdivIDUALS ' 1, Melissa Carl, Roseburg, 154; 2, Stephanie Johns, Ashland, 158; 3, Justine Hix, Grants Pass, 159; 4, Helen Blauser, Grants Pass, 171; 5, Elaina Graham, Ashland, 177; 6, Stephanie Graham, Ashland, 178; 7, Anna Wiley, South Medford, 183; 8, Hannah Shorter, Grants Pass, 187; 9, Rachel Barry, North Medford, 191; 10, Ashley Yraguen, Roseburg, 195.

ASHLAND (698) ' Elaina Graham 41-42'83, Stephanie Johns 43-41'84, Stephanie Graham 40-44'84, Lauren Dow 54-46'97.

GRANTS PASS (725) ' Justin Hix 39-40'79, Hannah Shorter 47-40'87, Helen Blauser 45-43'88, Shauntel Werner 47-57'104.

ROSEBURG (769) ' Melissa Carl 39-38'77, Ashley Yraguen 52-46'98, Kelly O'Brien 49-49'98, Cassie Van Vleet 60-53'113

NORTH MEDFORD (839) ' Rachel Barry 43-47'90, Snow Powers 50-48'98, Christina Thompson 54-51'105, Sheena Knight 67-55'122.

SOUTH MEDFORD (909) ' Anna Wiley 44-49'93, Calley Duvall 53-57'110, Jordan Sies 59-66'125, Callie Parks 60-53'113.

KLAMATH UNION (987) ' Ashley Wendt 55-54'109, Holly Brookshire 55-56'111, Jessica Schlyper 57-56'113, Allison Stewart 62-54'116.