When it mattered most, Manhattan High golfer Blake Fingalsen was at her best.
The senior carded a pair of birdies on the final two holes of the day to finish with a 79 and a two-stroke regional win over Washburn Rural’s Haley Flory at the Cypress Ridge Golf Course Monday.
“I was proud of Blake to not fall apart after she lost a ball and scored a nine on the par-5 14th hole,” MHS head coach Chris George said. “She didn’t dwell on the bad bounce her ball took, settled down and came back with a vengeance on the last four holes.”
Fingalsen’s quadruple-bogey nearly took her out of contention for the individual title, as Flory made par and took a one-stroke lead on the same hole.
But Fingalsen’s late charge proved to be enough, as Flory made par on the final two holes but came up short. Rural’s Kaci Dillingham was also in the hunt, but finished three strokes behind Fingalsen with an 82.
“Blake was either very good or above average for the day,” George said. “She had four double bogeys and one quadruple bogey but made up for it with five birdies.”
As a team, Manhattan took second place behind Rural, which won with a 338. The Indians’ team score of 360 was 60 strokes ahead of third-place Derby, which also advanced to state in Wichita next week.
Behind Fingalsen, Kylie McCarthy took seventh place, winning a sudden-death playoff with Derby’s Kennedy Long and carding a 91 on the day. Kelsey McCarthy finished in ninth with a 94.
Hannah Devane’s 96, Anna Jackson’s 99 and Cassidy Harper’s 104 rounded out the scoring for the Indians.
“It was really windy and made some of the sloping greens difficult to putt on,” George said. “There was one hole where if the ball didn’t go in the cup, the wind would catch it and roll it downhill clear off the green.”
Manhattan now turns its attention to the final tournament of the season with everything left to play for. Among the three other regionals, which obviously were played on different courses, only seven players scored better than Fingalsen’s 79, meaning she can challenge for the individual title or a medal at state.
Of the 12 qualifying teams, Manhattan’s 360 was the eighth-best score, though with four different courses hosting regionals, those numbers are skewed based on course difficulty. Shawnee Mission East looks like the toughest team, winning its regional with a 317. The other seven teams ahead of Manhattan are all within 22 strokes of the Indians’ regional score.
State for 6A schools is at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wichita on Monday.