North Buncombe junior Callista Rice led wire-to-wire to repeat as the winner of the Dogwood State Championship golf tournament Thursday in Cary.
Rice’s margin of victory was three strokes. Her 54-hole score was 218 (71-73-74) for the three-day Carolinas Golf Association juniors tournament played at Prestonwood Country Club.
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Callista Rice of Mars Hill, NC, successfully defended her title as she fired rounds of 71-73-74 to cruise to a three shot victory. Rice managed to fight 2014 Carolinas Player of the Year, Sarah Spicer of Bahama, NC as well as Sarah Funderburg of Wilmington, NC. “This is my favorite event,” said the jubilant Rice after the round. “I tried to be calm and play the course as it is, second day I just wanted to stay where I was, the final day I tried for just pars,” added the rising junior in high school. After bogeying 15-16, Rice saw her four shot lead dwindle to two, “I was just trying to relax because I knew I was getting up tight but par 5s are my strength because I am long, so I wanted to get a birdie putt.” Rice was able remain calm converting pars on her final two holes to claim the victory.
Rice is a former two-time Citizen-Times All-WNC Player of the Year and Mountain Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
As a sophomore, she maintained an area-low stroke average of 35.7 for nine-hole matches. Rice was a medalist 10 times and placed 12th at the NCHSAA 3-A tournament on Oct. 27-28 with a two-day score of 162 (81-81).