Sarah Bae had been denied an individual girls’ golf state championship in 2011, and she cried until she found out she had just helped Athens Drive win the team title.
But there was a hunger this year to claim the title that had eluded her.
As a senior, this was her last shot.
It was her coach’s last chance, too: Tony Alcon was going to go out with Bae, retiring after the year.
At this year’s championship at Pinehurst No. 6 Golf Course, 18 holes weren’t enough to see Bae and Alcon go out as winners.
Bae and New Bern’s Ashley Osiecki were going to a playoff after both shooting 152 over two days.
On the first playoff hole, each player shot par (four strokes) on No. 18, so they played it again.
Bae was over her second shot when Alcon walked over and murmured the last advice he would give as a high school coach.
“He told me, ‘Play the middle,’ ” Bae said.
She struck it dead-center at the pin, giving her a 21-foot putt compared to Osiecki’s 30-footer.
Bae stepped over the ball on the green. Her putting, she said, was off all week.
But this one broke left to right, crawling its way over the last few feet and dropping in for a birdie and the 4A championship.
Bae, who will play at High Point next year, and Alcon went out as winners – just as they had hoped.