District champ! Goodling takes title with 5-under 65
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
Trailing first-day leader Allison Cooper of Central Dauphin by six strokes going into last Saturday’s action at the District Three Triple-A Golf Championships, Manheim Central’s Haley Goodling figured there was no chance of catching her.
That, however, was before the MC junior finished with a dream second round.
Firing six birdies at Briarwood East Golf Course and hitting 18 greens in regulation, Goodling posted a 5-under-par 65 and vaulted herself to the District crown with a two-day total of 141 (76-65), three strokes ahead of Cooper (70-74-144), a former District champ. Her round on Saturday was the best 18-hole performance by a girls champion in District Three Golf Championship history.
"Oh man, even a day later, I’m still in shock, honestly," Goodling said in a phone interview on Sunday night. "Everything was going so perfect. And honestly, I don’t know what I did, but everything was just perfect and everything fell into place. It still comes as a shock to me that it actually happened."
Asked if taking the District title was the biggest win of her career, Goodling said, "It’s one of them, definitely … especially because I was coming from behind, I wasn’t expecting it, and that makes it all the sweeter."
Not only was Goodling trailing Cooper after the first day, but she was one stroke behind Spring Grove’s Victoria Ross (75-74-149) and sitting in third place. Her mindset was to post a low score and perhaps make a run for the District silver, but she got more than expected.
"I didn’t expect to even catch up to (Cooper), honestly," Goodling said, "because I knew she had a good lead and I knew she was pretty consistent. So if I wanted to beat her at all, I had to do really, really well. And I honestly wasn’t expecting to do that well."
Turns out, all her practice leading up to the District Championships was time well spent.
"I’ve been working on my short game, which I knew would help my score in the end," Goodling said. "With all the practice I’ve been putting into it, I was expecting to shoot, like, low to mid-70′s. But I wasn’t expecting to break 70, let alone shoot 5-under par."
Actually, things couldn’t have started any better for her on the front nine, hitting birdies on each of the first three holes.
"Everything (was working)," said Goodling, who bogeyed just one hole on Saturday. "There really wasn’t anything that was going left or right. Everything was going almost perfect every single time. It was ridiculous."
By the time the front nine was behind her, which included another birdie on hole No. 6, Goodling was within two strokes of Cooper.
When the CD golfer double-bogeyed on hole 10, they were even with eight remaining. Cooper had another double on hole 12, and Goodling, thanks to a birdie, grabbed a lead she never relinquished.
"We kept one other person’s score and I didn’t have her scorecard, so I had no idea," Goodling said. "But I knew (Cooper) had doubled a few holes, so I thought maybe I had a chance, since I was playing so well, but I didn’t think anything of it until the last hole."
There, Goodling was just looking to finish out with par and take her chances.
"I was just trying to find a way to make par and then I thought maybe I had a chance to be ahead of (Cooper), but I wasn’t entirely sure," she said. "So I was just trying to pull through the last hole and not freak myself out and score a big number. I was just trying to play my own game and not worry about it."
When it was all over, Haley’s mother Barb broke the good news to her.
"My mom came over and she was like, ‘Do you know that you won?’ And I was like, ‘I did? I didn’t know that,’" Goodling recalled. "I had some sort of clue, but I wasn’t entirely sure until my mom told me. She’s my updater … It’s still unreal. It’s still sinking in."
Goodling will now have a short break before competing at the PIAA Eastern Regional Championships at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood next Tuesday, Oct. 15. Her goal is just to extend her season another week.
"All I really want to do is qualify for States, but now that I shot 65, I’m hoping to get at least in the top 10 maybe," Goodling said. "I really just want to move on, especially because it’s a one-day event. It’s all you can do to get through to the next round."
RJ Bowman also represented Manheim Central at Districts, shooting an 81 and missing the cut by just one stroke during Friday’s first round in the Triple-A Boys Championships. He finished in a 10-way tie for 34th place,
Bowman was 3-over through the first eight holes, with three birdies, but then he shot a nine on the par-five hole No. 9. He rebounded to finish the back nine with a 2-over 37, but ended up falling just a little bit short.
More GOODLING, page B-7