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Howard senior Cherry one back of lead after opening day of 3A/4A state golf tournament

Jacqueline Cherry shoots 72 to open state tournament

During the opening round of the 3A/4A state championship tournament on Monday at the University of Maryland Golf Course, Howard's Jacqueline Cherry had her share of bad holes.

The Lions' senior finished with three bogies and a double bogey, nearly losing a ball off the tee late in her round.

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But by day's end, Cherry still managed to put herself right there near the top of the leader board thanks to a bounce-back attitude that never wavered. She made four birdies, three coming after one of those aforementioned over-par holes, and ended up shooting a round of 72 (one-over par) to sit alone in second place after day one — a shot behind North Point's Bailey Davis.

"In golf, there are always going to be bad holes ... even if you are having a good day you will get a bad break or hit a couple bad shots," Cherry said. "But, I just tell myself to stay calm and I know can get a birdie on the next hole."

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Howard County and Anne Arundel County golfers compete in the 2017 District V Championship golf tournament at Crofton Country Club.

The first day at states is all about positioning and with winds picking up during the middle of the round Monday, avoiding the bad holes was trickier than usual.

The defending girls champion — Lena Capoccia of Churchill — made two double bogies and a triple bogey over her final nine holes, for example, on the way to shooting an opening-round 77 that has her six back of the lead.

So for Cherry, who lost to Capoccia in a playoff at last year's state tournament, her ability to limit the damage went a long way. She made several key up-and-downs after wayward approach shots and also sank a handful of par putts between five and seven feet.

She made her first birdie of the day on her seventh hole and then, after following that up with a bogey, regrouped to close her first nine holes with another birdie. The next hole she made her third birdie and suddenly she was back to even par.

A particularly wayward drive — all the way into the rough on an adjacent hole — led to a double bogey on her 15th hole. But she again showed her resolve by making a birdie on her very next hole to steady the ship.

By the end of the day, Cherry had herself a career-best round at states.

"This is the tournament I have been looking forward to all year as a high school golfer," Cherry said. "So it's really nice to have played decent today. I'm only one stroke off the leader, which is good and I've put myself in a good spot to maybe climb up a little bit."

Behind Davis and Cherry, Richard Montgomery's Alyssa Cong and Northern's Liz Coffren each shot 74. Whitman's Jordan Cornelius and Churchill's Kaylin Yeoh were right behind that with rounds of 75.

All the qualifying players will return on Wednesday for the final day of the two-round tournament, teeing off under a modified shotgun start at 9 a.m.

On the boys side, Churchill's Dylan Rotter set the pace with an opening-round 73, which has him one shot ahead of a quartet of players that includes: Walter Johnson's Jake Griffin, Urbana's Elliott Haas, Sherwood's Brad Riley and Chesapeake's Jack Snyder.

Defending boys champion Nick Roberson of B-CC is part of a group two shots back after opening with a 75.

Atholton sophomore Branden Nguyen was the lone Howard County boys player to post a round in the 70s. He navigated around a couple miscues in the middle of his day to shoot a 76 and keep himself within striking distance of the lead.

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"The biggest improvement for me today was my tee shots. I might have missed a couple fairways, but I was basically always in play so that helped a lot," said Nguyen, who posted two straight rounds of 83 at states as a freshman to finish just outside the top 40. "Also having a short-term memory really helped. If I had a bad shot, or a bad hole, I did a good job of moving on to the next one … I made a bunch of pars toward the end of the round today."

Nguyen is three shots back of Rotter and will likely be in the third or fourth group for the final round.

Isabel Trojillo wins girls title, while Alex Pak win boys, at Howard County golf championships on Tuesday, Sept. 26.

Howard and Centennial had each qualified for states as a team, but neither will be advancing to the final day of play. Howard finished with a team total of 338 and Centennial was close behind with a total of 342.

The cut for the teams to advance ended up being at 322.

On Tuesday, the 1A/2A schools and individuals will play their opening round. Contrary to previous years, there are separate individual competitions for the small and large schools. A male and female individual winner will be crowned in both the 1A/2A and 3A/4A classifications this year, to go along with the traditional separate team champions.

TEAM RESULTS (3A/4A)

1. Whitman, 303; 2. Churchill 305; 3. Wootton, 317; T4. South River, 318; T4. Northern, 318; 6. Sherwood, 322; 7. Dulaney, 323; 8. Urbana, 324; 9. Howard, 338; 10. Northwest, 340; T11. Centennial, 342; T11. Quince Orchard, 342; 13. J.M. Bennett, 346; 14. Stephen Decatur, 348; 15. CM Wright, 357.

GIRLS RESULTS (3A/4A)

1. Bailey Davis, North Point, 71; 2. Jackie Cherry, Howard, 72; T3. Alyssa Cong, Richard Montgomery, 74; T3. Liz Coffren, Northern, 74; T5. Jordan Cornelius, Whitman, 75; T5. Kaylin Yeoh, Churchill, 75; T7. Amanda Levy, Whitman, 76; T7. Jenny Hua, Northwest, 76; 9. Lena Capoccia, Churchill, 77; 10. Stephanie Quiroa, Frederick, 78.

T11. Savannah Scott, JM Bennett, 81; T11. Andrea Chen, Wootton, 81; T13. Allannah, Arcusa, Bowie, 82; T13. Aine Kenwood, Churchill, 82; T13. Bethany Chen, Churchill, 82; T16. Rebecca Shiffman, B-CC, 83; T16. Abby Chen, Whitman, 83; T16. Audrey Moon, Aberdeen, 83; T16. Johnna Parlett, Northern, 83; T20. Isabel Trojillo, Centennial, 85; T20. Manca Teran, South River, 85; T20. Sarah Zachariah, Churchill, 85.

BOYS RESULTS (3A/4A)

1. Dylan Rotter, Churchill, 73; T2. Jake Griffin, Walter Johnson, 74; T2. Elliott Haas, Urbana, 74; T2. Brad Riley, Sherwood, 74; T2. Jack Snyder, Chesapeake, 74; T6. Nick Roberson, B-CC, 75; T6. Eddie Sarrach, South River, 75; T8. Chan Park, Dulaney, 76; T8. Branden Nguyen, Atholton, 76; T8. Kyle Nordheimer, Whitman, 76; T8. Dugan McCabe, Whitman, 76.

T12. Max Edminster, Blair, 77; T12. Ryan Choi, Dulaney, 77; T12. Edward Coffren, Northern, 77; T12. Ronnie Kim, Sherwood, 77; T12. Ritik Verma, Churchill, 77; T12. Jacob Ferrari, Urbana, 77; T18. Ethan Chelf, Wootton, 78; T18. Garyk Brixi, Churchill, 78.

Reach Brent Kennedy at bkennedy@baltsun.com or follow him on twitter @BKBSunSports

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