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GOLF: Newcomer lifts Lady Tigers to title

Bentonville High wins fifth consecutive Wildcat Invitational

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SPRINGDALE -- A newcomer helped Bentonville High claim its fifth straight Springdale Har-Ber Wildcat Invitational title on Thursday.

Lilly Thomas, a junior move-in from Heber Springs, fired a 2-under-par 74 to take top medalist honors and powered the Lady Tigers to an overall score of 249, which was five strokes better than runner-up Greenwood's 254. Thomas shot a 1-under 35 on the front nine and a 3-over 39 on the back nine at Springdale Country Club.

2017 Springdale Har-Ber Wildcat Invitational Tournament

at Springdale Country Club

Bentonville High^249

Lilly Thomas^74

Kinslee Miller^80

Chloe Ellis^95

Greenwood^

Sydnie Gamble^75

Jordyn Lane^89

Jaelee Mohetan^90

Siloam Springs^279

Brinkley Beever^88

Kaitlyn Robinson^95

Makenzie Blanchard^96

Springdale Har-Ber^309

Kirsi Grafton^96

Abbey Ott^102

Kailey Fender^111

Mountain Home^313

Sydney Czanstkowski^91

Kenzie Collins^94

Kori Schaufler^128

Individuals*

Kennedy Walters, Rogers Heritage^85

Breanna Lee, Van Buren^88

Lane Horn, Harrison^87

*Schools did not have three golfers needed to qualify for team standings.

"My putts on the front were good; I really liked the greens on the front side," Thomas said. "I really trusted my lines on my putts on the front, but then on the back I had a few chunks with my wedge, so that's why I struggled a bit there."

Thomas, who also excels in track and field, said a turning point in her round came on hole No. 9.

"I couldn't see the green and was behind a sand bunker on the left," Thomas said. "But I got my distance, so I went with the club I had and ended up six feet from the hole. That was a good shot that I wasn't expecting."

At Heber Springs last season, Thomas finished fourth in both the conference and Class 4A state tournaments. Her solid golf game was a welcome addition to a Lady Tigers' squad coming off a runner-up finish at last year's Class 7A state tournament.

"Today, she was strong all-around," said Bentonville coach Lindsey Davis. "She missed a couple of putts that would have really helped her get a couple of strokes lower. I told her that I was throwing her right in (to the team's top spot) because I had watched her play AJGA all summer and knew that's where she needed to be.

"And she stepped right up in her first tournament for us."

Bentonville sophomore Kinslee Miller finished with the third-highest score on the day with an 80 while Chloe Ellis added a 95 to round out the team's top three golfers, which is used to determine team standings. Greenwood's Sydnie Gamble was runner-up with a 75 to pace her team's second place finish. Siloam Springs finished third with Brinkley Beever's 88 leading the way.

"Greenwood gave us a run for our money," Davis said. "They were very good and Siloam is, too, so it looks like the field at is pretty even this year. We've got some work to do, but for the first time out, we did a great job."

Sports on 08/04/2017

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