Trinity King, 13, wins girls title by three shots

FWJGA Girls Tournament Day 3

By Charles Clines, FWJGA.net, photos at movin-pictures.com

Trinity King, 13-year-old from Arlington, endured a nerve-testing three days by winning the Fort Worth Junior Golf Association’s Girls City Junior Golf Championship, leading wire-to-wire. King shot a final-round seven-over par 77 over the 6,047-yard River Crest Country Club course for a 54-hole 12-over-par 227 total. She didn’t start shaking until she checked her scorecard. “Look at that. I’m shaking,” she said with a laugh after holding off challenges from Alexandra Batista and Maddie White.

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River Crest professional Reid Parrish presents Trinity King the permanent girls trophy

King won by three shots over White, who turned 16 on July 2 and who was playing the three courses (Woodhaven, Ridglea and River Crest) for the first time. White, who’s home-schooled, began the day five shots behind and played consistently, but couldn’t make a key putt even though she had several chances to apply pressure. She had pulled to within two shots after four holes, but fell back by four after nine and couldn’t mount a charge on the back, though she did finish with the day’s best score of 75.

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White above with girls director Madeleine Sulley.

But Alexadra Batista, who could have celebrated her 17th birthday Thursday with a victory, probably was the most disappointed as she fell to an 81, thanks in part to a nine on the par-5, 512-yard hole after her third shot rolled into a greenside water hazard. She began the day only a shot behind and had gained a one-shot lead after four holes. But even though she begin losing command of her driver on the tight course, she sill managed hold a one-shot lead after eight holes thanks to a birdie on the par-4 284-yard hole after a bogey onNo. 7. Then came No. 9.

King might have hit the shot of the tournament on the ninth after driving into a fairway bunker, laying out with an 8-iron to the middle of the fairway and then lacing a hybrid to within four feet of the hole and sinking the putt for a birdie. That was a five-shot swing with Batista. Batista’s third shot had almost trickled into the water hazard right of the green. Her pitch from the taller grass (she said she shanked it) landed in the fringe short of the green and the ball rolled back down the bank into the water. After a penalty stroke, she pitched short of the green, chipped on and two-putted for her nine and falling four behind. “I tried to come back from that, but…I’m disappointed. I thought I had a good chance of winning, especially after yesterday (when she shot a 72 at Ridglea Country Club’s North Course).” She finished third and five shots back at 232, though she did manage to pull withini two shots as late as the 15th hole when she parred the 138-yard par 3 and when King missed her short par putt. But King avoided a big number on No. 16 and saved par after her second shot on the par-4 stopped about six inches short of a greenside water hazard
White shot 37 on the front and missed another opportunity to close the gap on the 152-yard 10th hole when her tee shot stopped about 12-15 feet from the hole. King three-putted from about 30 feet, but White not only didn’t convert the birdie, but three-putted, too.
King avoided possible disaster on the 386-yard par-4 16th when her second shot stopped about six inches short of a water hazard left of the green. “That’s when I started getting nervous,” she said. However, she pitched to about 12 feet past the hole and made the pressure par putt. White again had pulled to within two at that point thanks to her par on the 138-yard par-3 15th and King’s bogey when she missed a par putt that was only a little longer than a foot. But after King salvaged her par on 16, another big opportunity never occurred as King parred the final two holes.

King said even after that putt on 16 and all the other adventures, she was unaware of her standing. “I was just trying to stay focused on what I was doing. I wasn’t trying to keep track of the scores,” she said.

After her par putt on the final hole, King knew she had won and that’s when the shaking began. “I’m very exciting. This is a major win for me,” said Trinity, noting that her 77 was 10 shots better than her finish last year at River Crest. The victory also was a statement to King’s focus on golf after she gave up soccer this season. However, it was soccer that sort of got her into golf. She and her dad, Dan, had gone shopping for soccer gear when she was 6, but she saw some golf clubs she wanted and that’s when she started. Dan, who had been a golf professional, said he began showing her how to play, but Trinity quickly took the the sport. “She was getting the ball airborne right away,” he said.
Golf isn’t the only thing she excels. She also was one of 125 frosh (which she’ll be at Martin) to be selected from the Arlington ISD for a STEM Academy technical program that teaches science, engineering and math. She can earn up to 20 to 30 college credits when she finishes the program, Dan said.

Winning the First Flight, which also finished at River Crest, was Caitlyn Lindell, 15, of Mansfield who cared an 84 for a 259 total, two in from of Quinn Barber, 15, of Grapevine. Bryle Alcorn, 17, of Burleson won the second flight by shooting a 79 at Rockwood G.C. and finishing with a 253, two ahead of Ashley Riemitis, 17, of Fort Worth. In the third flight, Kenney Hailey, 15, of Fort Worth edged Jessica McCue, 16, of Crowley by a shot with a 272 total after a final-round 86. Gwen Lefler, 16, of Ennis also won by a shot after a final 83 for a 283 total. Finishing tied for second were Catherine Moring, 14, of Bridlewood and Rachel Morton, 18, of Cleburne. In the new Division III, Shelby Ferraccio, 15, of Saginaw won by seven shots after a final-round 46 for nine holes at Sycamore Creek. The players began at Woodhaven and played 18 holes. Because they didn’t qualify for either Division I or II after their scores, they began nine-hole competition at Sycamore for the final two days. Fifth Flight winner was Lauren Wallace, 15, of Keller whose final round 45 and 217 won by two shots.

In the 9-hole Division at Sycamore, Ella Fisher, who’ll be 12 this month, won the Championship Flight by carding a 45 and a 131 total. First Flight winner was JJ Betz, 11, of Keller.