Elizabeth Kim was writhing in pain on the ninth hole at Bartram Trail Golf Club, and she knew she had a decision to make.
She could either quit and disqualify Lakeside from contention for the Class AAAA girls golf championship, or she could get up and finish her round in pain.
The decision wasn’t hard.
“There are only two girls on the team, so I had to pull through,” Kim said. “I can’t let my teammate down. We didn’t come this far just to quit after nine holes.”
A couple of hours later, Kim and teammate Eunice Yi raised the championship trophy. Yi shot 2-over-par 74, and Kim persevered for 79. The 153 total was two shots better than runner-up Lambert in the format that counted the best two scores from each team.
The drama for Lakeside began when an errant shot hit Kim in the right foot.
“I was standing a little ways off from a girl and she shanked it and it hit me in the ankle, then it ricocheted and hit me in the shin and then it went up (the side of) my skirt,” she said with a laugh. “It was interesting.”
Yi was playing a couple of holes ahead and using a pull cart to carry her clubs. She sacrificed that for her teammate.
“She’s a trouper,” Yi said. “I’m glad she pulled it through and came back strong.”
Lakeside coach Bill Richey was at Jones Creek Golf Club for the Class AAAA boys tournament when he heard the news. He rushed to Bartram Trail to check on Kim.
“I walked around the course with her trying to coax her to finish, which she did,” Richey said.
Kim said the pain helped her concentrate.
“It kind of forced me to focus a little bit more, balancing on one foot,” said Kim, who played the final nine in 3-over. “I didn’t play as good as I expected I would today. I stayed in it so Eunice could win it for us.”
There was less drama in the competition for the individual title. North Clayton’s Mariah Stackhouse shot 5-under-par 67 to win by four shots.
Stackhouse has dominated golf at the junior level in Georgia for years, and Monday’s victory was her third in four years in the state tournament. She won the event as a freshman and sophomore but was ineligible as a junior because she didn’t play in her region tournament.
“Something told me this year I was going to need to be better,” Stackhouse said. “I just came in with the mindset to get as many birdies as possible.”
Stackhouse’s team was ineligible for the title after her two teammates were disqualified. One didn’t show up, and the other ran afoul of a rules violation.
Stackhouse will be heading to the West Coast soon as she will play at Stanford.
“It’s kind of sad. It’s so far away, but I love the campus, love coach and love the team,” she said. “For four years it’ll be nice to be around a different scene.”