Lucas claims another state title

CROWLEY – Notre Dame golfing sensation Ali Lucas added another state championship to her resume recently, winning the Cox Communications Louisiana Champions Invitational at Marksville’s Tamahka Trials.

Lucas, the two-time winner of the state Division II girls’ title after winning that honor in April at Links on the Bayou, shot a 5-over 76 but still finished one stroke ahead of the 10-player field. The top five finishers in both of the state girls’ divisions were invited to take part.

Lucas finished the event one shot ahead of defending champion Heather Lott of St. Joseph, draining a 5-foot putt for par on the 18th hole to secure the victory.

After two birdies on the front nine, Lucas had a string of five straight bogeys that left her two shots back of Lott after 12 holes.

Lott returned the favor, bogeying holes 13-15 to put Lucas back in front by one. Lucas kept that lead by dropping a 5-foot putt for par at the 16th hole.

“Considering last year I shot a 51 here (nine holes, rain shortened), I’m very glad to redeem myself,” said Lucas. “Shooting 76 makes me feel much better. It feels good, too, because this was against the best girls in the state.”

Lucas also played for team Louisiana last week in the Junior Girls Tri-State Championships at Oak Wing in Alexandria in an event that matched teams from Louisiana against teams from Mississippi and Arkansas.

The Louisiana Women’s Golf Association selects eight of the state’s top under-18 players each year to participate in the event.

The two-day event began with four-ball matches in the morning and alternate-shot matches in the afternoon last Wednesday and continued on Thursday with individual play.

Lucas and Lara Hodge picked up one of Louisiana’s two victories on opening day with a 6 and 5 win over Arkansas’ Jordan Chaney and Katie Petrino in alternate shot competition.

The only other victory for Team Louisiana was posted by Anna McMullen and Taylor Griffin, 1-up winners over Korn Simsiriwong and Megan Roberts of Mississippi.

On the final day, Lucas cruised past Petrino by six strokes with five holes remaining in individual play.

Mississippi won event for the second straight year, winning six individual matches and tying another on the final day to finish with 11.5 points for the two-day Ryder Cup-type event.

Arkansas finished second with 7.5 points and Louisiana was third with five points.

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