Tilghman's Doss Wins State Title
Doss birdied the first hole of the day to take the outright lead for the first time on the weekend. She had at least a share of the lead for the remainder of the day, and led Nowlin by five strokes at one point.
But Nowlin caught fire late and was 6-under-par after 15 holes to tie Doss, forcing the Tilghman senior to do nothing but wait to see if her score was good enough. Nowlin bogeyed 16 to drop a stroke back, and missed birdie putts on 17 and 18 that could have forced a playoff with Doss. Instead, it was Doss winning state in her last time at the event.
"I couldn't have imagined a better ending (to my high school career)," Doss said. "I've always wanted to win a state championship and I'm happy I'm finally able to do it."
At the midway point of Saturday's final round, it looked as if Doss were on her way to routing the competition. She fired a 33 on the front nine, but when she shot even-par on the back nine, Nowlin made her push.
Doss had a birdie and bogey on the back nine, and parred her final two holes to take the clubhouse lead at 6-under-par. She sat behind the 18 green for the next hour as Nowlin eventually tied her - but it was Doss who came out on top for Tilghman's first ever girls golf individual championship.
"I'm really happy to finally get one for our school," she said. "April Butler was a great player at Tilghman and she came close to getting one, but never fully got it. I'm glad to finally get one for Tilghman."
When the day began, Doss was tied with Barbourville's Kristen Engle - who struggled early before regrouping and finishing in third place. Tied for third place to begin the day were a pair of First Region golfers, Murray's Sarah McDowell and Marshall County's Bailey Tyree.
Both were in the hunt for a lot of the day, especially McDowell, who was one shot back of Doss for several parts of the front nine.
McDowell, a junior, faded a bit on the back nine but still finished in fifth place overall with her two-day score of 3-over-par. It was great results for McDowell, as she had only hoped to make the cut when the weekend began.
"I'm so excited. I went into this tournament just hoping to make the cut and I sure did that, and my next goal was top 10, and I completed that. I'm really happy," she said.
Tyree won the First Region championship a week ago, but struggled Saturday after having the lead for much of Friday. Tyree finished at 4-over-par for the tournament and in a tie for sixth place - making it three First Region golfers in the top six.
Marshall County made the cut into Saturday and finished 11th overall. Behind Tyree, the Lady Marshals were led by Hallie Riley's +34, Savannah Howell at +46, Kennadi Spraggs +48 and Karissa Jordan +56 over two days.
Two of the First Region premier golfers, Doss and Tyree, will both be playing for Division-I universities next season as Doss is committed to Mississippi State and Tyree to Western Kentucky.
That will open the door for McDowell to win the region next year, though she'll be challenged by the likes of Mayfield's Devany Cope and Calloway County's Earlena Sheets - who was 14-over-par at state and finished 21st overall.
Led by Nowlin, Madison Central won the state championship by shooting a two-day score of 53-over-par.
But it was Doss who stole the show at state, even after her disappointing regional tournament the previous week.
"It gave me more momentum to keep working harder. I know I have the game to play. I felt like I saw some of that game come back at regionals but I was unable to carry it to the back nine," said Toss. "This weekend I was able to carry it through both days."
Doss' championship makes it five state championships for west Kentucky golfers over the past eight years, joining Anna Hack and three-time winner Emma Talley.
"The First Region has always produced a lot of golfers starting back with Emma Talley. She always motivated us to get better," Doss said.