At the conclusion of her junior golf season last fall, Molly Heath tied another golfer for the third and final qualifying spot in the state tournament. She lost in a playoff and was forced to turn her attention to next season.
She didn’t leave any doubt this time around.
Heath shot a 90 on Sept. 22 during the region tournament at Forest Hill, her home course, finishing in third by three strokes to secure her spot in this week’s Class AA Girls State Tournament, which will be played Thursday and Friday at Sevierville Golf Club.
“Considering how I played, I didn’t know if I had qualified,” Heath said. “It wasn’t great, but I just kept pushing through … When I was done I looked at the board and I was in.”
A practice round on Wednesday should prove helpful considering Heath has never laid eyes on the course in Sevierville.
“I looked at it on Google,” Heath said Tuesday afternoon while traveling to Sevierville with her parents, Amanda and Kevin Heath. “There’s a lot of water and it’s hilly, but playing Forest Hill so much over the season has prepared me for hills, so that’s not one of my worried. I just have to watch out for the water.”
Heath, who signed a golf scholarship with University of Tennessee-Southern last month, will be the only player from Tipton County playing in the state tournament.
The competition will, of course, be very tough as the top golfers from the biggest schools in the state converge in Sevierville. Last year’s winner shot a two-day total of 136, four under par.
Heath said she’s more focused on enjoying the experience of playing in her first state tournament than birdies and pars.
“I’m more excited than anything because since I was a freshman it was my goal to go to state. Actually being able to accomplish that has been crazy to me … I’m just going to play and see what happens. Just to even be here is so crazy to me I don’t won’t to worry about my game. It will allow to me to play better when I don’t think. I’m hoping that will make me play my best.”