This one’s for the girls.
Phoebe Brinker, 14, won the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association’s high school golf state championship, becoming the first female to take home the title in the DIAA’s 43-year history.
Brinker beat out a field of both male and female competitors (Delaware doesn’t run separate tournaments for boys and girls) to help her teammates at Tower Hill secure their first team championship. Firing rounds of 69 and 70, Brinker finished with a two-day, 4-under par score of 140, six strokes ahead of nearest competitor, sophomore Nick Pulgini of Appoquinimink.
She had just one bogey through 36 holes, a three-putt on the 16th hole on day two.
“It’s just really cool,” Brinker told The News Journal following her win. “I feel like maybe it’s just male-dominated, and it’s just cool to break that stereotype.”
That she did. Even though the yardages for the competition were adjusted — the girls playing the course at 5,280 yards and the boys at 6,250 yards — The News Journal noted that the setup seemed fair, with Brinker, Pulgini and third place finisher Esther Park hitting about the same clubs into the greens at Rehoboth Beach Country Club. Similar hazards were kept in play. But Pulgini didn’t seem to think the yardage mattered much anyway when it came to Brinker’s play.
“She just hits everything straight,” Pulgini said. “It was so cool watching her. She played great. Every approach shot she had was within 10 feet, it felt like.”
Brinker and her teammate Jennifer Cleary helped Tower Hill to their first team title by a margin of 22 strokes. The win is sweet to coach Kathy Franklin, who has watched the team progress one spot from fourth to first each year since 2013.
“They’re pretty much tournament-tested,” Franklin said. “They play all summer. They worked hard all spring for this. They are out on the practice range and the putting green. One of the girls was here yesterday at least an hour after the last player finished. And then the two girls came back later on and putted all evening.”
That’s what we call some mighty girl power.