No matter what stood in her way, Poteau senior Hannah Ward wouldn’t be denied another state title.
Ward overcame a two-stroke deficit and an ailing wrist to shoot a 1-over-par 73 during the final round of the Class 4A girls golf state tournament on Thursday at Lake Hefner.
The come-from-behind victory was her third consecutive individual state championship. She shot a 5-over-par 149 over the two rounds.
“This one is kind of similar to the others, but since it’s my senior year it’s more special,” Ward said. “I worked really hard for this. I was really nervous with it being close, but I just had to keep telling myself not to give up.”
The Arkansas-Little Rock signee posted a 76 on Wednesday, and entered Thursday in third behind Clinton’s Paige Neidy and Fort Gibson’s Emilee Rigsby.
Ward’s final-round 73 was three strokes better than any other competitor on the day, allowing her to make up three shots on Rigsby and 11 on Neidy.
Rigsby finished second with a 7-over-par 151, and first-round leader Neidy was third with a 158.
Ward also had to overcome an injured wrist, which had become so bothersome she received a pain-relieving shot on Monday.
“Yesterday’s round, she was very shaky,” said Poteau coach Randall Wheat. “She’s overcame a lot this year. She’s played with a lot of good golfers and had a great senior year.”
Ward says her experience playing Lake Hefner’s south course was an advantage down the stretch on Thursday.
“I’ve played this course about 20 times, so that helped me know how to play the wind a little better,” Ward said. “In practice rounds I’ve shot under par here, but a 73 is the best I’ve ever shot here in a round like today.”
As a team, Poteau combined for a two-round total of 705 to finish seven strokes behind champion Hilldale.
The Pirates finished in the top four as a team in each of Ward’s four seasons, winning the title in 2012. Ft. Gibson (701) was second and Clinton (702) third.