Seven Lakes wins Class 6A Region III golf title

Scoring-wise, the finish of the girls Class 6A Region III golf tournament couldn’t get much closer. Helped by medalist Lauren Nguyen, Seven Lakes captured the championship by only one shot over runner-up Kingwood, which was one shot better than third-place Ridge Point.

In reality, all those teams came out victorious on Tuesday following the second and final round at Gleannloch Pines Golf Club as the top three qualify for the state tournament May 10-11 at Legacy Hills in Georgetown.

“It’s crazy, that’s how golf is though. Every stroke counts and thank goodness at the end we pulled through and were able to hold it,” said Grayson Heilman, part of Seven Lakes’ winning team that shot 28-over par 604 over 36 holes, a consistent 14 over each day.

“You wouldn’t think golf would be such a team sport like this, but today we were really able to rely on each other.”

Seven Lakes came into Tuesday five shots behind first-round leader Ridge Point, which finished at 30-over 606.

Nguyen, who will play college golf for Texas A&M, shot even-par 72 on Tuesday to win the individual title. She blistered the field on Monday, shooting 65. Her 7 under two-day total was three shots clear of runner-up Mallorie Luitwieler, a junior from Cinco Ranch, one of three players who will be going to state as an individual.

“It’s my last regional tournament so I really just wanted to have fun out here, and I got a little more than that,” said Nguyen, who won a playoff for third place two years ago in the last state tournament played in 2019. “I’m so happy for my team, they are amazing.”

Joining Nguyen and Heilman, who is headed to Texas State, on the victorious Spartans team are sophomore Maelynn Kim and freshmen Floortje Rademaker and Kay Song.

“It wasn’t just me,” Nguyen said. “The team has really pushed me a lot. They’ve given me so much confidence. It’s really important to me to play for them, too.”

Nguyen now can add a regional championship trophy to the one she won for winning district this season.

“She’s a phenomenal golfer, she understands the game,” said Seven Lakes coach Sean Ewing, whose Spartans have won the last three girls regionals played, all by one shot. “She knows what shot to hit when she’s supposed to hit it. She’s one of those competitors that don’t come around very often, but when they do, you’ve got to take advantage of them.”

Kendall Jackson (Pearland) was third at 3-under, after her impressive second-round 5 under. She was followed by Natalie Cao (Clements) at 2 under. Reagan Gray (Ridge Point) came in fifth at even par.

Jackson and Cao join Luitwieler as the top three finishers whose team did not qualify for state in qualifying for state as an individual.

Seven Lakes led by as many as seven shots on the back nine Tuesday before Kingwood and Ridge Point closed the gap. Bella Flores was Kingwood’s top scorer, shooting 3 over for the 36 holes, good for ninth place.

Kingwood put together rounds of 302-303.

“This is our best two-day total this group’s ever had,” said Kingwood coach Susan Willis, who played a freshman and two sophomores this week. “They fought all the way down to the wire. It could have gone either way. This is a tough region and getting out is a huge accomplishment.”