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Lady Bulldogs enjoy best season on the the links

Camden finishes eighth in AAA state tournament

Posted: November 1, 2017 2:34 p.m.
Updated: November 3, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Photo provided/

THE CAMDEN HIGH GIRLS’ golf team finished eighth in the AAA state championships after posting 13 wins during match play. Pictured on the front row, from left, are Greer Younghans, Olivia Huggins, Eliza Reames, Liza Smoak, Palmer Cantey and Taylor Kingsley. Standing are Katie Frazier, Hannah Beben, head coach Matt McCarley, Morgan Kate Jones and Ava Neal.

When Matt McCarley first started the girls’ golf program at Camden High five years ago, he barely had enough players needed to be able to post enough scores for the team’s score to count in matches.

Turn the clock ahead to 2017 and the Lady Bulldogs are a program built for success.

Camden is coming off its best season in the short history of girls’ golf at the school and did so with just one senior from a roster which has grown to 10 players. The fall campaign culminated with the Lady Bulldogs finishing eighth in the recently completed AAA state tournament played over the River Falls Golf Course in Duncan. CHS shot a one round 405 score in an event which was shortened to just 18 holes after rain washed out the scheduled first round of play.

Freshman Olivia Huggins led Camden in the tournament with a 96 for 18 holes. Eight-grader Ava Neal shot a 101 while Taylor Kingsley, a seventh-grader, was next with a 102. Hannah Beben, the lone senior on the team, carded a 106 while Greer Younghans, a seventh-grader, rounded out the scoring with a 114.

“We were the youngest team at the state tournament,” McCarley said.

The Lady Dogs advanced to the state tourney after having finished fifth in the AAA Upper State Championship Tournament played at the Greenwood Country Club on Oct. 16. Neal posted Camden’s low score in the tourney with a 93, which was good for 20th place individually.

Camden’s postseason success came after a 13-3 regular season. The only three setbacks for McCarley’s team came to Cardinal Newman, which won the SCISAA state title, and Hartsville, which finished third in the 4A state tournament.

The Lady Bulldogs’ roster included four seventh-graders --- Eliza Reames, Liza Smoak, Younghans and Kingsley, one eight-grader in Neal, who led the team with a 43.5 stroke average for nine holes, four freshmen --- Palmer Cantey, Katie Frasier, Morgan Kate Jones, and Huggins --- along with Beben, a senior and team captain who, in addition to her play on the course, was a steadying force and leader for her younger teammates.

“The future looks bright,” McCarley said of the Lady Bulldogs’ program. “We are going to miss Hannah Beben. Her passion for the game is contagious. She has a great attitude for golf and life and has been a great role model for the younger girls.”


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