|Gilchrist at the 1st|
She shot a 10-over 82 in last week's First Region Girls Tournament to finish sixth overall at Calvert City Country Club, earning individual qualifying spot in this week’s KHSAA Girls State Championship Golf Tournament at Bowling Green.
Gilchrist played her practice round yesterday. Today, she begins a two-day, 36-hole match against the state's top female golfers.
Just 14 years old, Gilchrist joins a select group as a state championship qualifier. Coincidentally, she has close ties to three of them. Those are Gilchrist’s high school coach Vicki (Hardin) Hatfield, her coach’s sister Kayla (Hardin) Gachoka and Gilchrist’s former elementary school principal Melissa (Jones) Tabor. All three are singing the young golfer’s praises.
“Isn’t that great,” said Tabor, still the principal at CCES and the first female golfer from Crittenden County to play in the state tournament back in the early 1980s.
The other two Rocket ladies who qualified for state were Morgan Dooms and Michelle Stone.
“I am so proud of her,” said Hatfield, whose younger sister also qualified as a freshman.
“Lauren had a couple of bad holes in last week's regional tournament, but she didn’t let that define her round,” Hatfield said.
Gilchrist had a triple-bogey on the par-4 first hole at Calvert City – which was actually the 10th hole of her round.
After writing down a seven on her scorecard, Gilchrist battled back with a par on the next hole.
“I just stuck to my attitude,” she said. “I really wanted to do this this year so I kept my head on and stuck with it.”
Gilchrist finished last week's regional event with nine pars, two birdies, seven bogeys and figures on a couple of other holes that she’d rather forget.
“My putting helped me,” she said, counting eight greens where she one-putted.
The ninth-grader hit four greens in regulation, bringing that hot putter into play a number of times.
“It’s pretty special,” said her coach.
Gilchrist is a former First Region All A Classic Tournament champion and three-time Class A Tournament qualifier. She finished 15th three weeks ago in the state small-school tournament.