By Patrick Prince
BROKEN ARROW – Finishing with back-to-back birdies, Pocola’s Raychel Nelke captured the WOGA Junior Girls Championship on Monday at Cedar Ridge Country Club by one stroke in a competitive final grouping of the two-day event.
Nelke, who shot a 1-over-par 73 for a two-day total of 1-over-par 145, held off defending champ Maddi Kamas of Kingfisher, who has enjoyed multiple wins this summer, and Jenks’ Jenni Roller.
“All I really did was just kind of focus on shot to shot, didn’t really worry too much about score,” Nelke said. “Going into the last hole, I really had no idea where we’re at.”
Kamas shot a 2-over 74 on Wednesday for a two-day total of 146 to place second while Roller finished third after a 1-over 73 for a 147 total.
It’s the second win this summer for Nelke, who turned 16 on Monday. In June, she won the inaugural Oklahoma Junior Masters Invitational at Southern Hills Country Club.
It was stellar play on her final two holes that secured the win.
Nelke birdied the 405-yard, par-5 17th. She was just off the green in two, got relief from a cooling fan and chipped on and then sank a short putt.
While not knowing the overall standings, she said she figured she’d need another birdie on 18, and she was right.
On 18, Nelke was safely in the fairway while Kamas and Roller sent tee shots into the right rough. All three reached the green in two shots, setting up three birdie putts and a dramatic finish.
Kamas and Roller each made birdie, leaving Nelke with about a 10-foot putt for birdie and the win.
“I just hit it straight with some speed. I didn’t want to leave it short,” Nelke said.
Kamas, who came into the final round tied with Nelke atop the leaderboard, has been on fire this summer and was in position to win again. She overcame a double-bogey on No. 16 with an eagle on No. 17 when she sank a 15-foot birdie putt and then birdied 18.
Nelke said she was aware of the hot streak Kamas has been on this summer, but did not let that affect her game.
“I just worry about my game,” Nelke said.
Roller began the day two strokes back of Kamas and Nelke and made a run at times.
On the back nine, Roller birdied Nos. 11 and 12, 14 and 18. She also saved par on No. 17 after missing the fairway behind some trees.
A key hole for Nelke was the 252-yard, par-4 11th. Her approach shot found a green-side bunker before she got up and down for par.
“I think that kind of gave me back some (confidence),” she said. “Hitting a wedge shot into the bunker was pretty upsetting.”
Nelke, a junior at Pocola High School who has yet to play in a high school tournament, will now set her sights on competition in upcoming AJGA events.
Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association
70th Girls’ State Championship
Cedar Ridge Country Club
Raychel Nelke – Champion 72/73/145
Maddi Kamas – RunnerUp 72/74/146
Jenni Roller 74/73/147, Olivia Coit 81/76/157, Emily Miller 78/81/159, Jaiden Gregston 84/78/162,
Reagan Chaney 84/78/162, Brooklyn Benn 82/82/164, Sarah Sherrard 84/82/166, Gracie Doke 83/88/171, Katelyn Bollenback 95/80/175, Krislyn Andrews 91/89/180, Meghan Charles 84/94/188,
Kristinia Aills 103/86/189, Drew Faires 100/101/201
Ages 16-18 Flight
Aubrey House 82/80/162, Lindyn Ross 84/81/165 ,Ella Fryer 88/90/178, Anna Hoey 96/89/185, Nyah Sanders 98/88/186, Sloan Smith 102/87/189, Holly Hanks 99/93/192, Alison Foley 95/97/192, Addysyn Asmus 98/97/195, Ava Smith 108/106/214, Bradi McLemore 111/105/216, Chloe Henshaw 114/106/220
Ages 14-15 Flight
Mimi Hoang 78/83/161, Adrian Piles 80/81/161, Layne Ailshie 81/81/162, MaKaylee Cowan 77/85/162, Lily Stanton 82/81/163, Peyton Coburn 84/84/168, Riley Rinner 85/86/171, Jaeya Mathis 86/85/171,
Isabella Suttee 89/84/173, Kamryn Zuniga 87/96/183, Riley Beeler 92/99/191, Ella Barbush WD
Ages 12-13 Flight
Ava Kight 80/87/167, Sophia Lefler 80/88/168, Megan Kalapura 84/85/169, Natalie Purvis 87/85/172,
Laura Stewart 85/96/181, Juliana Hong 90/93/183, Reagan Plank 97/94/191, Nikki Pitts 95/99/194
9 Hole Flight
Kate Dixon 41/37/78, Neely Kight 41/38/79, Maggie Ruby 46/36/82, Lorelai Efaw 42/42/84
Ages 8-9 Flight
Harlow Gregory 46/41/87, Kylie Fisher 45/43/88, Liezel Efaw 53/55/108, Anabelle Butesifh 64/53/117