Taylor Dodson has experienced what it’s like to finish in the top 10 at the SCHSL Class AAAA state championship tournament. She’s also felt the satisfaction of a top 5 finish in the event.
Now she’s ready for more.
“I’d like to win it this year,” the senior said.
Although she’s been tuning up for the state tournament all year, now is the time for her and teammates Madison Giacabone, Shannon Hardiman, Brooke Hutto and Taylor DeHart to shine.
First up is the region tournament at Houndslake Country Club on Oct. 15. The T-Breds have had a strong showing in that event over the last several years, but Lexington – winner of four of the last five state titles at the Class AAAA level – has been in the way of a Region 5-AAAA championship.
Dodson is hoping for an even higher finish for the T-Breds, especially at a course she and her teammates play so often.
“We always come in second at the region tournament,” she said. “It should be even better this year.”
Then it will be off to the state championship Lower State qualifier tournament at Myrtle Beach National if the T-Breds can finish in the top four in region play. That event is scheduled for the following Monday, Oct. 22, and Dodson is confident in her team’s ability to advance to that level.
“I think we’ll make it,” she said.
Dodson added that she had very little knowledge of Myrtle Beach National but that the team would be allowed a practice round the week before the tournament.
From there, the top eight Lower State teams will join the top eight Upper State teams at Lexington Country Club on Oct. 29 and 30 for the State Championship tournament. The top three individuals not on qualifying teams will also play for the state championship.
Lexington CC was the site of the 2010 state title tournament, and Dodson finished in a tie for 10th with a one-round score of 78 as a sophomore. The T-Breds finished fifth as a team that year.
“I’ve played that course many times, so I’m very familiar with it,” she said.
Dodson finished fifth a year ago with a two-round total of 148 as part of a sixth-place finish for South Aiken, and two of her fellow top-five golfers are returning for this year’s tournament. Last year’s second-place finisher Lauren Stephenson (144) is back to help Lexington avenge its second-place team result behind state champion Wren. Lugoff-Elgin’s Kelli Murphy, an individual qualifier that shot 147 to finish fourth in 2011, is also among the golfers Dodson expected to be in the field this year.
While Dodson clearly has her eye on an individual medalist honor, that isn’t the only trophy she wants to eventually bring home from Lexington at the end of the month. She said that she’s close to her teammates, and she wants her team to put in an all-around effort worthy of the state team championship.
“That would be great,” she said. “We’re like a family, and I would love for us to come out and shoot some really good scores.”
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.