Seven Lakes repeats as Region III-6A golf tourney champ


MONT BELVIEU – For the second straight year at regionals, Seven Lakes has proven to be the best girls golf team. Even though it hasn’t come easy, it’s still back-to-back titles for the Spartans, who like in 2018, won by a single shot.

Over two days at Eagle Pointe Golf Course, Seven Lakes shot 42-over 618 to win the Region III-6A girls tournament. Memorial, which rejoined Region III this year, was close behind at 43-over 619. Kingwood A is the third and final team to advance to next month’s state golf tournament in Georgetown, carding a 60-over 636.

Going to state as individuals for a third straight year each are medalist Elina Sinz of Tompkins and Cy-Fair’s Grace Ni. Sinz, who finished second at regionals a year ago, shot a brilliant 6-under-66 in Wednesday’s final round for a two-day 6-under 138. Ni had rounds of 72-70 for 2-under 142. A senior, Ni won this tournament as a freshman and sophomore, but did not play in 2018 because of an injury.

Seven Lakes held off a late charge by Memorial to advance to state a fourth consecutive year.

“They’re competitors, and they just came out and competed and didn’t want to take no for an answer,” Seven Lakes coach Sean Ewing said. “This is our region and we wanted to do it again, and that’s what they did.”

Seven Lakes’ Lauren Nguyen tied for third with Memorial’s Zoe Slaughter at even-par 144. Isha Dhruva, the Spartans’ No. 1 player, was fifth at 2-over 146. Completing the Spartans’ squad were Grayson Heilman, Olivia Kim and Kathryn Gleason.

“It was definitely difficult, but I’m glad that everybody on the team could come together and shoot their best, and win regionals again,” Nguyen said. “And by one, which is insane. We didn’t let nerves take over.”

Three years ago during Dhruva’s freshman season, Seven Lakes advanced to state with a third-place finish in regional. The Spartans got third by just a shot that year as well. Last year, Seven Lakes beat Kingwood by a single shot.

“It’s kind of being a habit now,” said Dhruva, who signed with Penn State. “But we just had fun out there and that’s what kept us going. We really wanted it bad as a team. It was a team effort today.”

A year after making a 9 on the par-5 17th hole, Dhruva birdied the hole on Wednesday. That birdie played a huge role in the Spartans’ narrow victory.

The Mustangs came close, but they’re advancing to state for a fourth straight year, having top-10 finishes in each of the past three years.

“I’m in a good mood because I’m proud of them, but I’m kind of sad for them too because I know they are a little disappointed,” Memorial coach Holly Paulk said. “State is the ultimate goal.

“They’re (Seven Lakes) a really good, close-knit team, they practice hard. I’m happy for them and I love their coach, Sean. We’re both happy, we hugged afterwards. We want each other to do great. It really worked out.”

In addition to Slaughter, rounding out Memorial’s team is Jackie Nguyen, Ashleigh Stoehr, Victoria Pappas and Geenie Chiravanich.

Sinz, who shot an even-par 72 in Tuesday’s first round, previously qualified as an individual to state as a freshman in 2017 and as a sophomore in 2018, finishing seventh and fourth respectively. She played a determined game on Wednesday in shooting her 66.

“One of my main goals was winning district, I wanted to win regionals too,” Sinz said. “So I’ve been working really hard lately, working on my short game. Winning individual is a big thing for me.”

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